Elkins (12-2, 1-1 UFC) was set to meet UFC newcomer Edson Barboza on the pay-per-view event at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Nov. 20. But Elkins, who fights out of the Duneland Vale Tudo camp in Valparaiso, Ind., announced Wednesday on his Facebook page that he had to pull out of the fight. Sources close to his camp told MMA Fighting that Elkins injured his knee working on takedowns.
Stepping in will be Lullo, according to sources close to the fighter, who will make his UFC debut. Lullo fights out of the Midwest Training Center in Schaumburg, Ill., that produced current UFC lightweight Clay Guida. Lullo (8-2) has won eight straight fights and six straight by submission. His fights have all been in the Midwest, including five for the Xtreme Fighting Organization run by former WEC and UFC fighter Jeff Curran.
Barboza (6-0) is known as a striker and is a Muay Thai champion in his native Brazil. Five of his six wins have come by stoppage and he has only been beyond the first round once.
Elkins was looking for a return to the win column in the UFC after a fast submission loss against Charles Oliveira at UFC Live on Versus 2 in August. In that fight, he shot for a takedown but got caught in guillotine that Oliveira transitioned to an armbar, forcing the Elkins tap just 41 seconds in. Elkins won his debut at UFC Live on Versus 1 in March in just 44 seconds when a takedown of Duane Ludwig snapped Ludwig's leg, leading to a TKO victory.
UFC 123 is the promotion's first event in Michigan since UFC 9 in 1996. The pay-per-view is headlined by a battle between former light heavyweight champs Lyoto Machida and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. The co-main event features the rubber match between former welterweight champ and UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes and former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn.