Rivera tweeted Monday that Sakara had withdrawn from their Aug. 6 pay-per-view bout due to a knee injury, marking the third time that particular contest has been scheduled and scratched.
UFC officials subsequently announced that Constantinos Philippou, who was slated to meet Rafael Natal on the UFC 133 undercard, will step up to meet Rivera. No announcement was made regarding Natal’s status on the card.
In August 2010, Rivera (Pictured) suffered a broken arm in training, forcing him from his fight with Sakara at UFC 118. The match was rescheduled for November’s UFC 122, but was canceled mid-show when Sakara was stricken with flu-like symptoms.
Rivera, 39, last competed in February, when he was punched out in the second round by Michael Bisping at UFC 127. The defeat snapped the resurgent Massachusetts native’s three-fight win streak, during which Rivera topped Nate Quarry, Rob Kimmons and Nissen Osterneck.
A pupil of Matt Serra, the Cyprus-born Philippou made his UFC debut in March on just one week’s notice, dropping a unanimous decision to Nick Catone at UFC 128. Prior to entering the Octagon, 31-year-old Philippou fought the first nine bouts of his career in New Jersey’s Ring of Combat promotion, where he compiled a record of 7-1 with one no-contest.
UFC 133 takes place at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center and will be headlined by another short-notice bout, with former light heavyweight champions Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans squaring off for the second time.