Joe Riggs is back.
Eight years after being released from the UFC, the longtime MMA veteran has re-signed with the promotion and will replace injured Mike Rhodes against Paulo Thiago at the UFC Fight Night 51 card in Brasilia, Brazil, on Sept. 13. Sources confirmed the change to MMAFighting.com following a report from Combate.
Riggs (40-14, 1 no-contest) returns to the Octagon riding a six-fight win streak, capped off by a decision victory over Mike Bronzoulis at Bellator 106. The other five wins of his current unbeaten streak came with stoppages.
Thiago (15-7), who surprisingly signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC after winning only one of his past five bouts in the promotion, has his back against the wall following a pair of losses to Gasan Umalatov and Brandon Thatch.
The latest addition to the card is a rematch between bantamweights Rani Yahya and Johnny Bedford. The first bout, who took place at the UFC Fight Night 44 card in April, was ruled a no-contest due to an unintentional headbutt.
Yahya (19-8, 1 no-contest) looks for a win after Tom Niinimaki snapped his three-fight win streak in November. Bedford (19-11-1, 1 no-contest) desperately needs the victory following losses to Cody Gibson and Bryan Caraway and a no-contest against Yahya in his last three UFC fights.
Here’s the current fight card for UFC Fight Night 51:
Antonio Silva vs. Andrei Arlovski
Sergio Moraes vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Leonardo Santos vs. Łukasz Sajewski
George Sullivan vs. Igor Araujo
Jessica Andrade vs. Valerie Letourneau
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Efrain Escudero
Paulo Thiago vs. Joe Riggs
Rani Yahya vs. Johnny Bedford