Lightweight Jeremy Stephens has withdrawn from his matchup with Nik Lentz, scheduled for UFC Fight Night 20 on January 11 in Fairfax, Virginia, after suffering an undisclosed injury while training, MMAjunkie today reported. It has since been learned that Thiago Tavares, who himself has battled injuries of late, has verbally agreed to face Lentz as a replacement for Stephens, according to a new report from MMAjunkie.
Originally scheduled to fight Efrain Escudero before instead being booked for a matchup with Stephens, Lentz now appears set to face Tavares in the preliminary card bout.
After losing 3 of his last 4 bouts, Stephens (16-5) bounced back with a first-round TKO of Justin Buchholz at UFC Fight Night 19 in September. It is not yet known when Stephens will be able to return to the Octagon.
Lentz (17-3), unbeaten in his last nine fights, made his UFC debut in September with a unanimous decision victory over Rafaello Oliveira at UFC 103, while
Tavares was last in action defeating Manny Gamburyan at UFC 94 last January. He was then booked to face Melvin Guillard on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 9, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. He was then set to face Jim Miller at UFC 103, but was again forced to withdraw due to another injury.
Pictured: Jeremy Stephens