Welterweight submission specialist T.J. Waldburger has suffered an injury and will be unable to compete as expected at UFC 161.
Replacing Walburger will be Kenny Robertson, who now meets Sean Pierson at the June 15 event. UFC 161 takes place at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg and marks the promotion’s first trip to the Canadian province of Manitoba. Headlined by an interim bantamweight title showdown between reigning champion Renan Barao and ex-WEC titlist Eddie Wineland, the evening’s main draw airs live on pay-per-view and will also see Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira clash in a light heavyweight rematch nearly eight years in the making.
Robertson, 29, has split his last four fights after beginning his career a perfect 10-0. The Illinois native debuted in the UFC in 2011 with a loss to Mike Pierce but responded with a knockout of Lucio Linhares outside the Octagon to close out the year. Most recently, Robertson submitted Brock Jardine with an innovative kneebar from back control, picking up his first promotional win on Feb. 23 at UFC 157.
Pierson, 37, has won back-to-back fights heading into UFC 161, most recently defeating Lance Benoist this past September at UFC 152. Prior to that triumph, “The Punisher” posted a 2-2 Octagon record, besting Jake Hecht and Matt Riddle while stumbling against Dong Hyun Kim and Jake Ellenberger.