Having just signed a multi-fight agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Cage Rage champion Mustapha Al-Turk was all set for a baptism of fire in the UFC against highly touted heavyweight prospect CainVelazquez. It was scheduled to be a tough debut for the London Shootfighters standout, but one that suited him stylistically as both are heavy handed grapplers.
According to his coach and manager Alexis Demetriades, it appears that the fight is off due to injury. "We got word from Joe Silva that Velazquez has pulled out due to injury and will be undergoing knee surgery to fix it. It's a shame as we had a strategy in place and we were all set to go."
The announcement of Velazquez withdrawing from the fight will leave many disappointed as the fight guaranteed fireworks. All is not lost, as a replacement has been found in tough Frenchman Cheick Kongo, who is coming off a TKO win over Dan Evensen at UFC 87 in Minneapolis.
"We were offered Kongo by Joe and we accepted the fight. We were just waiting for Kongo to get his signed bout agreement back before we could confirm it," clarified Demetriades, adding, "Everything else is the same. Mus will be fighting on the main card, on pay-per-view. It's a good fight."
For his part, Kongo has been in the press recently, announcing an affiliation with The Wolfslair camp in the U.K. in order to refine his training. Part of that training will no doubt be focused on developing his ground game with the excellent wrestling capabilities available in-house at the 'lair.
The two are expected to fight on the UFC 92 main card on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas.