Likely another sign that Strikeforce truly is facing its impending death in January, because while Showtime stopped Derek Brunson from joining the Ultimate Fighter season 17, they have now allowed him to take a late replacement fight at UFC 155. The slot had opened up after Chris Leben’s original opponent, Karlos Vermola suffered an injury, removing him from the fight. The Strikeforce veteran will look to get his first win in the Octagon and turn his once promising career around on less than a two weeks notice. UFC 155 is the UFC’s year end pay-per-view card, taking place on December 29th at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card is set to be headlined by a UFC heavyweight title fight rematch between current champion Junior Dos Santos and contender Cain Velasquez.
Derek Brunson was an undefeated prospect until this year. He had taken a fight outside of the Zuffa organization in order to stay active – taking on former TUF winner Kendall Grove. The fight was a split-decision loss for Brunson, which he looked to erase with a quick turnaround fight against Ronaldo Souza. That decision may have been a little hasty, as he was knocked out in 41 seconds in the first round. You always have to question what happens to a fighter when they get there lights put out for the first time, especially when matched up with power punchers such as Chris Leben right after.
This could be a good and bad time to face Leben, depending on how you look at it. Leben may have ring rust since he’s been out of the Octagon for nearly a year since he failed a post-fight drug test, but at the same time he may be hungry for a win. Leben has the potential to still be a great fighter after having a stellar 2010 where he went 3-0, including two wins that were within three weeks of each other. Unfortunately, 2011 was marred by the ups and downs that Leben’s career has taken as of late. He started off with a first round knockout at the hands of Brian Stann, followed up with his own first round destruction of Pride legend Wanderlei Silva, and then made history in his loss to Mark Munoz since their fight had the potential to be the first non-title fight to go three rounds. This fight should be interesting as both fighters will be looking to make a statement int his fight with a win.