After a few last-minute speed bumps, Johny Hendricks will get the chance to make his bare-knuckle boxing debut.
The former UFC welterweight champion was supposed to fight Brennan Ward in a 185-pound bout in the main event of the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation’s inaugural show on Friday in Casper, Wyo., but Ward announced that he would be withdrawing from the show due to a contract dispute.
Officials declared that they would work to find a replacement to fight Hendricks and they have plucked Dakota Cochrane from a scheduled undercard bout with Marcelo Alfaya to serve as Ward’s replacement, per a WBKFF release. Alfaya will now fight Joey Munoz in a 177-pound catchweight bout.
Cochrane is perhaps best known for his brief appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 15, where he lost to future lightweight contender James Vick in a qualifying bout to get into the house. He has also competed for Bellator, Titan Fighting Championship, and the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance, among other promotions, compiling a 32-13 record in MMA.
Hendricks, 18-8 as a pro fighter, will be competing in combat sports for the first time since announcing his retirement from MMA in June of last year. The 35-year-old ended his UFC run with five losses in his last six fights.
WBKFF: Rise of the Titans airs on FITE TV this Friday, starting with a free preliminary card at 8:30 p.m. ET followed by a pay-per-view portion at 10 p.m. ET.