With less than two weeks to prepare, Chris Weidman has signed on for the biggest fight of his life.
The undefeated middleweight prospect agreed to step in and fight Demian Maia on network television as part of UFC on Fox 2's main card.
Weidman replaces Michael Bisping, who was relocated to a number-one contender bout against Chael Sonnen due to a last-second injury to Mark Munoz. UFC officials confirmed the switch earlier this week.
A Matt Serra protégé and former NCAA standout wrestler, Weidman (7-0) has thus far lived up to his billing as one of MMA's top prospects. The 27-year-old is a perfect 3-0 inside the UFC, with dominating victories over Alessio Sakara, Jesse Bongfeldt and Tom Lawlor. Notably, "All-American" won "Submission of the Night" honors for his first-round standing guillotine choke finish of Bongfeldt at UFC 131.
Across the cage, top-10 middleweight Maia (15-3) hopes to continue a push into title contention after winning three of his last four contests, capped by a unanimous decision victory against former Sengoku champion Jorge Santiago at UFC 136. With eight submission wins and four "Submission of Night" bonuses to his credit, the 34-year-old maintains a reputation as one of MMA's foremost grappling virtuosos.
UFC on Fox 2 takes place January 28, 2012 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. A light heavyweight battle between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis headlines the network broadcast.
UFC on Fox 2 fight card:
Light heavyweight: Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
Middleweight: Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping
Middleweight: Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman
Preliminary card (Fuel TV):
Bantamweight: Johnny Bedford vs. Mitch Gagnon
Lightweight: Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz
Heavyweight: John Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow
Lightweight: Michael Johnson vs. Shane Roller
Featherweight: George Roop vs. Cub Swanson
Featherweight: Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely
Middleweight: Chris Camozzi vs. Dustin Jacoby
Heavyweight: Lavar Johnson vs. Joey Beltran