An elbow injury has forced Brazilian Paulo Thiago to withdraw from his scheduled welterweight showdown with the once-beaten Johny Hendricks at UFC Live 3 on March 3 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
Thiago (Pictured) will undergo elbow surgery in order to remove bone fragments from the joint at the end of the week. According to his manager, Wallid Ismail, the 30-year-old expects a quick and full recovery.
“This surgery is quite simple, but it is something that was making him suffer a little,” Ismail told Sherdog.com. “His elbow got stuck. He wanted to fight, but the UFC understood the problem and gave us the total support.”
A black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Thiago last appeared at UFC 121 in October, when he lost a unanimous decision to the resurgent Diego Sanchez at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. He opened his professional career with 11 consecutive victories and burst on the global scene in February 2009 with his stunning knockout against American Kickboxing Academy thoroughbred Josh Koscheck at UFC 95. Thiago holds other notable victories over Mike Swick and Minnesota Martial Arts Academy representative Jacob Volkmann. He has secured more than half (eight) of his 13 career victories by submission.
Thiago’s absence leaves Hendricks without a dance partner for the time being. A two-time NCAA national champion wrestler and four-time collegiate All-American at Oklahoma State University, the Team Takedown standout suffered his first professional defeat in December, when he was outpointed by Rick Story at “The Ultimate Fighter” 12 Finale in Las Vegas. Hendricks, a 27-year-old Ada, Okla., native, counts victories over AMA Fight Club representative Charlie Brenneman, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah and Canadian T.J. Grant among his nine career conquests.
A welterweight showdown pairing Sanchez with Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts ace Martin Kampmann will headline UFC Live 3, which will air live on the Versus network.