The UFC has made a big change to their January pay-per-view event after they moved Jared Cannonier vs Derek Brunson off the card.
The bout was supposed to serve on the main card of UFC 270 behind title fights between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo as well the heavyweight title fight between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane.
The fight will now take place at UFC 271 however as the co-main event, meaning both fighters can serve as back-ups to the middleweight title fight headlining the card.
It was announced this week that Israel Adesanya will defend his 185-pound championship against number one contender Robert Whittaker in Texas on February 12th, in a rematch from their 2019 bout that saw Adesanya take the title from him for the first time.
With the card for UFC 271 looking relatively thin, the UFC have made the decision to bolster the card with another big bout but it will also serve as the back-up in case something happens to one of Adesanya or Whittaker.
Brunson is on a five-fight win streak heading into this fight, having last lost when he fought Adesanya in 2018. He has beaten Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch, Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Vegas 5, Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22 and most recently Darren Till at UFC Vegas 36 to climb back up the rankings into the top five.
Cannonier has strung together a 4-1 run in his last five fights, with knockout wins against David Branch, Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson. He was beaten by Whittaker at UFC 254, but he bounced back with a dominant decision win against Kelvin Gastelum in his last outing at UFC Vegas 34.
Brunson reacted to the news on social media, saying he would now be training for five rounds in preparation in case the title fight was to fall out.