A big change to the UFC 216 card has shook up the PPV event at the last minute. Just hours before the main card was set to go down, Derrick Lewis announced he was unable to fight due to a recurrence of a back injury that flared up previously against Mark Hunt. As a result, Walt Harris, who had been set to face Mark Godbeer on the preliminary card, will step up to face Fabricio Werdum.
UFC announcer Jon Anik let the news slip, which was later confirmed by MMA Fighting.
Fabricio Werdum v. Derrick Lewis is off due to an injury to one of the fighters. First fight now 4PM PT. #UFC216
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) October 7, 2017
Lewis would tell MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he was “unable to move,” adding that “I’m feeling the same pain in my back that I felt before the Mark Hunt fight.”
The UFC also released an official statement regarding the switch.
Due to injury, Derrick Lewis has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 216 bout against Fabricio Werdum. Moving to the Pay-Per-View portion of the event will be a heavyweight matchup between Werdum and Walt Harris.
Harris was originally scheduled to face Mark Godbeer in a preliminary bout.
UFC 216 will proceed with 11 bouts.
With another heavyweight bout on the card, the UFC opted to juggle opponents rather than lose one of the bigger draws on the PPV. That means Harris (10-5) will now face a former UFC champ in the biggest fight of his MMA career.
Harris enters the fight of his life having won two straight in the octagon, and three of his last four. Overall, he is 3-4 in the UFC split between two stints. Werdum, meanwhile, comes into the night having lost a majority decision to Alistair Overeem last time out.
UFC 216 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. An interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee serves as the evening’s main event. Demetrious Johnson looks for a record eleventh title defense when he takes on Ray Borg in the co-main.