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Todd Brown Steps in for Thiago Silva against Tim Boetsch

Light heavyweight Thiago Silva has been forced off the UFC 117 card, reportedly with a back injury, and will be replaced by Todd Brown against Tim Boetsch.

MMA Weekly first reported the Silva news on Tuesday, and MMA Fighting has confirmed with Brown that he has been signed to the organization and will make his promotional debut on short notice at the Aug. 7 event in Oakland, Calif.

Brown told MMA Fighting first that the UFC contacted him two days ago, and the short notice didn't matter to him.

"I was ready to sign," Brown said. "This is the result of a lot of work. My game will be the same no matter who I fight."

Brown (15-1) will go into the bout with a seven-fight winning streak. His first and only loss came more than three years ago at a North American Allied Fight Series event in Ohio to Josh Hendricks, who would go on to get an eventual UFC shot – and loss to Gabriel Gonzaga. Brown's wins have all come on Midwest-based regional promotions.

Brown becomes the second member of the Bulldog Fight Team, based in Osceola, Ind., just outside South Bend, to get a UFC deal. Teammate Steve Lopez made his promotional debut at UFC 103, but lost by TKO when he separated his shoulder. Lopez will get his next shot at UFC 119 in Indianapolis on Sept. 25 against Waylon Lowe.

Brown said Lopez will be one of his cornermen at UFC 117 and that the lightweight has already offered him words of encouragement. He also had no shortage of confidence in advance of the biggest fight of his career.

"Stevie has been in my ear for sure," Brown said. "I've never been more excited, barring the birth of my kids. I plan to fight like a bulldog (and) never back up. I plan to win in exciting fashion."

Boetsch (11-3, 2-2 UFC) is making his return to the UFC after going 3-0 outside the promotion. His last UFC fight came at UFC 96 in March 2009, a loss to Jason Brilz.

The Boetsch-Brown fight is scheduled for the preliminary card. UFC 117 features a main-event middleweight title fight between champion Anderson Silva, who looks for a seventh consecutive defense of the belt against Chael Sonnen, who has a three-fight winning streak. Silva has not lost since a disqualification against Yushin Okami four and a half years ago and has never lost in the UFC.

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