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Bisping replaces Weidman to face Rockhold at UFC 199

MANILA, Philippines – Luke Rockhold will remain on the UFC 199 pay-per-view card as the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization has found a late replacement to face the middleweight titleholder. 

Michael Bisping will fill in for Chris Weidman, who was forced to withdraw from his middleweight championship rematch against Rockhold due to a neck injury.

Weidman is set to undergo an immediate surgery with a recovery period of 6 to 8 weeks. 

According to UFC president Dana White, Bisping was not the top choice to replace Weidman as Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza cemented his stature as the No. 1 contender for the UFC middleweight belt after scoring a lopsided first-round stoppage victory versus Vitor Belfort over the weekend. 

However, Souza is also scheduled for an operation on his torn meniscus and would not be able to compete in approximately two weeks’ time.

“The next guy in line behind Vitor Belfort is Michael Bisping. There is no love lost between those two. They do not like each other. So it’s the champ versus the No. 4-ranked man in the world,” White said in his interview on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Thursday, May 19. 

Both men are no strangers to each other as Rockhold submitted Bisping with a second-round guillotine choke in November 2014. 

Since the disappointing setback to Rockhold, Bisping (28-7) has won 3-straight bouts, outpointing CB Dollaway, Thales Leites and Anderson Silva. 

On the other hand, Rockhold (15-2) is coming off a title-winning performance this past December, thwarting Weidman in the fourth round to walk away with the 185-pound weight class' top prize around his waist.

UFC 199 takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California on June 4. – Rappler.com