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Wednesday, 10/02/2013, 06:54 am

Rafael Natal replaces Machida, faces Tim Kennedy at UFC’s ‘Fight for the Troops 3′

When Michael Bisping injured his eye, former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida, was pulled from his scheduled bout with Tim Kennedy at ‘UFC Fight for the troops 3′ to replace “The Count” in the headliner of ”UFC Fight Night 30″ opposite Mark Munoz.

The shuffling of opponents had left Tim Kennedy without a fight, so, he began calling out middleweights on Twitter. On his list of call-outs was Brazilian Rafael “Sapo” Natal (17-4-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC), who Kennedy tweeted the following message to:

“Opportunity knocks @rafaelsaponatal,” he wrote. “You always win, but no one knows who you are. When I’m done with you, neither will you(Tough guy voice)”

Evidently, UFC officials must have agreed with Kennedy that Natal was a worthy opponent for the November 6th event-headlining-bout, as they have officially booked the fight.

Rafael Natal has put together 3 straight victories inside the octagon. He was most recently seen in action against Tor Troeng at “UFC Fight Night 28,” whom he defeated by decision. “Sapo” was originally slated to face Ed Herman at next month’s UFC 167 event in Las Vegas. Herman is still expected to fight at UFC 167 against a different foe.

Meanwhile, Tim Kennedy (16-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made his octagon debut at July’s UFC 162 event in Las Vegas, where he defeated submission specialist Roger Gracie via decision. Prior to that, Kennedy defeated Trevor Smith via submission while under the Strikeforce banner.

“UFC Fight Night 31″ or “UFC Fight for the troops 3″ takes place November 6 live from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The main card airs live on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook.

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