Bryan Caraway was forced out of UFC Fight Night 103 last week after suffering an undisclosed injury and now the UFC says Marlon Vera will be stepping in on short notice to fight Jimmie Rivera at the event.
Vera (8-3-1) has won two of four fights under the UFC banner, defeating Ning Guangyou and Roman Salazar, while suffering defeats to Marco Beltran and David Grant. Vera was a cast member on the UFC Ultimate Fighter Latin America I, losing in the opening round to Henry Briones. Vera hasn’t put a winning streak together in well over two years, that winning streak lasted for all of two fights.
Rivera (20-1-0) has already achieved four victories in the UFC, defeating Marcus Brimage, Pedro Munhoz, Iuri Alcantara and Urijah Faber. Rivera is also a former King Of The Cage Bantamweight Champion, defeating Abel Cullum to win the belt in September 2010. Rivera is currently riding a nineteen fight winning streak, a winning streak that has lasted nearly eight years at this point.
But ccording to Rivera, he’s not fighting Vera on Sunday Night.
“I found out Monday Caraway was out,” Rivera told MMA Fighting. “Didn’t find anyone new until Thursday. My coach and I discussed that it wouldn't be a fair fight for the guy. I’m not bullying some guy who wins some and loses some. I want to fight the best of the best. I trained for Caraway, so either I wait for him to get better or fight someone at the very top of the weight class.”
Rivera did originally accept the fight, but then he changed his mind, something he also talked about with MMA Fighting.
“That was me thinking as a fighter and not being realistic,” Rivera explained. “I've always got fights that no one wanted. First fight was late-notice fight, knock the guy out [Marcus Brimage]. Next was a Brazilian in Brazil, beat him [Pedro Munhoz]. Next was Yuri [Alcantara] who know one wanted to fight, beat him. Then, [Urijah] Faber and beat him toe-to-toe. I trained two and half months for Caraway. Two weeks out he says he got hurt. All I ask, if it's going to be replacement, give me someone who's going to benefit me. If I fight Vera, it makes me look like a bully and I teach my kids not to be a bully. Plus, he's got a daughter that he's trying to make money to get her surgery done. I got a heart man, I can't stand there and stop that.”
UFC Fight Night 103 takes place on Sunday, January 15 from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona with Yair Rodriguez and BJ Penn headlining.