Gian Villante will try for his first Octagon win at UFC 167. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Strikeforce alumnus Gian Villante will replace jiu-jitsu ace Robert Drysdale against Cody Donovan at UFC 167.
UFC officials announced the change on Tuesday. MMAJunkie.com earlier reported that Drysdale was flagged by the Nevada Athletic Commission for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, and Sherdog.com verified with NAC Executive Director Keith Kizer that the light heavyweight was not approved to compete by the regulatory body. Kizer confirmed that Drysdale produced a T/E ratio of 19.4-1, more than three times Nevada’s allowable limit of 6-1. It is unknown at this time if Drysdale will face a disciplinary hearing at the commission’s next meeting.
UFC 167 takes place Nov. 16 from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is headlined by a welterweight title bout between longtime champion Georges St. Pierre and surging challenger Johny Hendricks. The pay-per-view will also see Rashad Evans do battle with Chael Sonnen in a light heavyweight co-main event, while Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler lock horns at 170 pounds.
Villante, 28, posted three straight wins to close out his Strikeforce career after suffering a unanimous decision defeat to Lorenz Larkin in his 205-pound debut, besting Keith Berry, Trevor Smith and Derrick Mehmen before falling to “The Monsoon.” The New Yorker last competed on April 27, when he saw his momentum halted in a controversial, technical-decision defeat to Ovince St. Preux at UFC 159.
Donovan, 32, also faced St. Preux in his last in-cage appearance, though “Donnybrook” was knocked out by “OSP” in just over two minutes this past August at UFC Fight Night 26. The light heavyweight had won four straight fights prior to that defeat, making his Octagon debut last December with a first-round knockout of Nick Penner at UFC on FX 6.
Editor’s note: This item was updated Oct. 29 at 3:34 p.m. PT to include information from NAC Executive Director Keith Kizer.