The UFC’s upcoming return to FOX on May 5 got a minor tweak this past week when seasoned veteran Dennis Hallman was forced out of a scheduled bout with TUF 13 winner Tony Ferguson due to an undisclosed injury. With Hallman out, Brazilian submission-specialist Thiago Tavares has apparently been tagged as a replacement where he’ll look to put an end to Ferguson’s rapid ascension through the lightweight ranks.

News of the change was first reported by TATAME.

Tavares is coming off back-to-back wins against Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout, improving his overall record to 17-4-1 with seven of those instances of success coming inside the Octagon. The 27-year old grappler has earned eleven of his victories via submission.

In Ferguson he will face a 13-2 striker on a six-fight winning streak who has dismantled all three of his opponents in the UFC (Ramsey Nijem, Yves Edwards, and Aaron Riley).

UFC on FOX 3 is headlined by Jim Miller mixing it up with Nate Diaz for top contendership at 155-pounds with other featured match-ups including Josh Koscheck-Johny Hendricks and Rousimar Palhares-Alan Belcher.


MMATraining Take: I actually like Tavares more as an opponent than Hallman so no problems here. It pits two guys in comparable positions against each other as far as age, experience, and divisional standing go, while beforehand Ferguson would have been fighting his third consecutive guy with a ton more experience on the downside of his career.