A report from insidefights.com is claiming that the reasoning behind Junior dos Santos’ being pulled from his fight with Justin McCully at UFC 102 on August 29 in Portland, OR is that Dos Santos will now be headlining UFC 103 on September 19 in Dallas, TX. The report alleges that he will be in the main event alongside none other than Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović. UFC newcomer Mike Russo has stepped up to face McCully in Portland.
Cro Cop has recently been the center of much speculation. He defeated Mostapha Al-Turk at UFC 99. Although the victory has been surrounded by criticism; a replay of the last few moments of the action showed an illegal eye poke from Cro Cop that could have very well been the beginning of the end for Al-turk. Shortly after the fight it was reported that Cro Cop had signed a three-fight deal with Dream, a Japanese based MMA organization. This obviously did not sit well with Dana White who granted Cro Cop a one fight deal, over the phone, because he felt that the Croatian would stay with the organization after the fight. In the days that followed many reports were released, some claiming that Cro Cop had indeed signed a deal with Dream, and others claiming there was no such deal in place. Reports earlier this week stated that the UFC's own Lorenzo Fertitta flew to Croatia to meat with Filipović in an effort to hammer out a deal that would sway the superstar to stay with the UFC. According to this report, Lorenzo was able to work his magic.
Dos Santos made his UFC debut at UFC 90 with a 6-1 overall record. The Brazilian newcomer was widely considered to be a lamb thrown to the wolves when he was set to take on highly regarded Fabricio Werdum. If no one knew who Dos Santos was before UFC 90, everyone knew the name after he dispatched of Werdum by TKO in just 1:21. Dos Santos followed a very impressive UFC debut with yet another quick KO at UFC 95, when he knocked out Stefan Struve in a mere 54 seconds, leaving fans and pundits debating if Junior could be a legit contender.
If this report turns out to be true, both Cro Cop and Dos Santos will have a great opportunity to increase there stock within the organization come September 19. Dos Santos will try to prove that he is indeed a contender and a legit threat to anyone in the UFC's heavyweight division and Cro Cop will want to make a statement to let everyone know that he is still as dangerous as ever and still has a title run in him. The winner of the fight would be near the top of the heavyweight division and awaiting a title shot.