Disappointing news for Chad Mendes: UFC featherweight champion José Aldo will not be able to defend his title against him at UFC 134 this summer, as he will not be fully recovered from some injuries he sustained in his UFC 129 fight against Mark Hominick.
The UFC made the announcement today, along with announcing Mendes’ replacement opponent: Rani Yahya.
“With featherweight champion José Aldo’s exact return date to the Octagon uncertain, #1 undefeated featherweight contender Chad Mendes looks to stay active by taking on the extremely dangerous submissions specialist Rani Yahya,” said UFC president Dana White through UFC.com.
A Team Alpha Male product, Mendes has earned his status as a top contender by remaining undefeated in ten professional bouts, five of those having come under the Zuffa banner. Getting his start on the big stage with the WEC, Mendes made his UFC debut this past February at UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort
against Michihiro Omigawa, defeating the Japanese vet via unanimous decision.
Also having recently made the transfer from the WEC to the UFC, Rani Yahya made his UFC debut a successful one as well. Yahya returned to featherweight (after spending most of his career as a bantamweight) and faced former champ Mike Brown at UFC: Fight for the Troops 2 this past January, defeating Brown via unanimous decision. The 2nd degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt will be pitting his impressive submission skills against Mendes’ wrestling-first offense.
UFC 134 goes down this August 27 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.