by Adam Martin
An injury has forced American Justin Salas out of his UFC on FX 7 matchup, where he was set to take on Brazilian star Edson Barboza on his home turf in just a few weeks.
Fighting in his place on short notice is Lucas Martins, who will be making his UFC debut at the event.
The switch of opponents for Barboza was first reported by MMAjunkie.com, and later confirmed by the UFC.
The 26-year-old Barboza (10-1) is infamous for his 2012 “Knockout of the Year” on Terry Etim, which took place at UFC 142. After a back and forth bout, Barboza unleashed a wicked spinning wheel kick to the dome of Etim in the third round, knocking the Brit out cold and cementing Barboza’s place in the UFC’s history books for eternity.
However, following the win over Etim, Barboza fought Jamie Varner back at UFC 146 and was knocked out in what was arguably the biggest upset in MMA all year. He needs a big win to bounce back, and he’ll get that opportunity over the UFC newcomer Martins, but it certainly won’t be easy.
Martins (11-0) is a 24-year-old who has compiled an undefeated record thus far, racking up 11 wins in just over one year of fighting professional, including seven via tapout and three via knockout. The Chute Boxe member is a wicked striker just like Barboza is so there’s no doubt UFC matchmaker Joe Silva put these two together in the hopes of producing fireworks.
Oh, by the way, Martins’ last win came via head kick KO. Actually, he racked up two wins in December 2012, so although he’ll be at a disadvantage in this bout as far as UFC experience goes, he clearly has the momentum on his side.
UFC on FX 7 takes place Jan. 19 at Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The main event features a five-round middleweight bout between Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping, and the co-main event is another middleweight tilt between CB Dollaway and Daniel Sarafian.
What are your thoughts?