Former UFC heavyweight title challenger, Gabriel Gonzaga received an early Christmas present from the UFC today in the form of a new 4-fight contract.
Previously cut from the promotion after consecutive losses to Junior Dos Santos and Brendan Schaub, the big man finally gets to return to his promotional home after more than a year away.
As we announced earlier today, four UFC 142 fighters have been forced off the card due to injury and as such the UFC was on the hunt for replacement opponents. Gonzaga is one of those replacements and is now set to face UFC newcomer Ednaldo Oliveira in his welcome home bout.
UFC 142 is set to go down on Jan. 14 from Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena. In the main event is a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes.
Gonzaga recently bounced back from his UFC defeats with a win over Parker Porter on the regional circuit to win the Reality Fighting Heavyweight title. The contest marked his first return to action since exiting the UFC following his loss to Brendan Schaub. The one-time title challenger was once one of the world’s most feared heavyweights; however, losses to Carwin, Dos Santos and the aforementioned Schaub tainted the big man’s reputation and forced his release from the UFC.
Gonzaga’s return to the UFC is not an easy one. He will now welcome UFC newcomer Ednaldo Oliveira to the Octagon.
With a pro MMA record of 13-0-1 the heavy handed Oliviera is hoping to make an immediate impact in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Having been a longtime stable mate to new champion, Junior Dos Santos, his team of coaches and training partners are confident the UFC’s latest acquisition will be able to ascend through the rankings. Eight of his 13 wins have come via knockout and his last five victories have all come in 2011.