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Chris Weidman vs. ‘Jacare’ Souza slated for UFC 230 co-main event

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For Chris Weidman, at least, the crisis has been averted.

The former UFC middleweight champion had his rematch with fellow former champion Luke Rockhold drop out on Friday. That bout, which was to be the co-main event at UFC 230 in New York’s Madison Square Garden, was scrapped due to multiple injuries to Rockhold.

Now, the UFC 230 card is a bit less deep than it was just recently, but Weidman will at least remain a part of it. The Long Island native has a new opponent for his hometown fight in Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz initially reported the news of the possibility of Weidman-Souza on Friday, while ESPN reported the new fight being set.

Weidman (14-3) is coming off an impressive submission victory in his last fight over Kelvin Gastelum, the next challenger to current middleweight titleholder Robert Whittaker, in a July 2017 fight. The win snapped a three-fight losing streak which dated back to his title loss to Rockhold at UFC 194.

Souza (25-6, 1 NC), for his part, is looking to get back into the win column. The former Strikeforce middleweight champ and eight-time World Jiu-Jitsu Championships gold medalist dropped a split decision to Gastelum at UFC 224, which was his second loss in his past three fights.

Souza had been scheduled to fight former WSOF light heavyweight and middleweight champ David Branch at UFC 230. ESPN is reporting that Branch will now fight Jared Cannonier on the card.

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