Top bantamweight contender Renan Barao will face Urijah Faber in place of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 148. The announcement was made by UFC President Dana White on Friday's episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Live on FX.
Cruz tore his ACL in training during filming of this season of The Ultimate Fighter, forcing him to withdraw from his rubber match with rival and fellow coach Faber. There is currently no clear timeline on Cruz's return to professional mixed martial arts competition.
Barao was originally scheduled to face Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148. There is no word yet on who Menjivar will face in Barao's absence. Faber and Barao will fight for the UFC interim bantamweight title.
Barao, 25, most recently defeated bantamweight stalwart Scott Jorgensen by unanimous decision. That performance was preceded by a higlhight reel effort against Brad Pickett at UFC 138.
Faber, 33, most recently faced and defeated Brian Bowles at UFC 139. The Sacramento native defeated Bowles by guillotine choke at UFC 139.