Aljamain Sterling out at UFC Fight Night 102; promotion needs U.S.-based foe for Raphael Assuncao

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

A highly anticipated bantamweight contest between Aljamain Sterling (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Raphael Assuncao (23-5 MMA, 7-2 UFC) has been scrapped.

MMAjunkie today confirmed with UFC officials that injury has forced Sterling to withdraw from the planned UFC Fight Night 102 matchup, leaving the promotion in need of a new opponent for Assuncao.

Due to the late nature of the change, the promotion is seeking an opponent who is currently authorized to compete in the U.S.

Featuring a heavyweight headliner with Derrick Lewis vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, UFC Fight Night 102 takes place at Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. The full card streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

The planned matchup was a key contest at 135 pounds, with Assuncao sitting at No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, and Sterling checking in at No. 14.

A timetable for Sterling’s return wasn’t immediately established.

Assuncao returned to action in July after a 21-month layoff. Before injuries derailed his progress, he had seven straight wins since dropping to bantamweight from featherweight, including victories over Bryan Caraway and T.J. Dillashaw before Dillashaw won the 135-pound title.

In his return at UFC 200 in Las Vegas, Assuncao fought Dillashaw in a rematch but dropped a unanimous decision with 30-27 scores from all three judges. It was the Brazilian’s first loss since UFC 128 in March 2011 – his debut with the promotion after four fights in the now-defunct WEC.

Sterling had been hoping to fight in his home state for the first time in his pro career. The New Yorker, who lives and trains on Long Island, was looking to bounce back from the first setback of his career. After a 12-0 start, including 4-0 in the UFC with three straight stoppages, he dropped a split call to Caraway at UFC Fight Night 88 in Las Vegas.

With the change to the card, UFC Fight Night 102 now includes:

  • Derrick Lewis vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Francis Ngannou
  • Patrick Cummins vs. Gian Villante
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. opponent TBA
  • Corey Anderson vs. Sean O’Connell
  • Juliana Lima vs. Tatiana Suarez
  • Randy Brown vs. Brian Camozzi
  • Andrew Sanchez vs. Trevor Smith
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Frankie Perez
  • Keith Berish vs. Ryan Janes
  • Joe Gigliotti vs. Gerald Meerschaert
  • Tiago Trator vs. opponent TBA
  • Justine Kish vs. Ashley Yoder

For more on UFC Fight Night 102, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC