It has emerged today that bantamweight hard-hitter Francisco Rivera (7-2) has been brought in as a late replacement for Azamat Gashimov. Rivera will now step in and take on Alex Soto (6-1-1) at UFC on Fuel TV 3.
Francisco voiced his excitement via his Twitter account stating “I’m back baby!! Let’s make it happen!!” The reason for Gashimov’s withdrawal from the event is not know at this present time.
UFC on Fuel TV 3 will take place on May 15th, 2012, at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The event will be headlined by a featherweight match-up between Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung also known as “The Korean Zombie”.
Francisco Rivera fought under the Zuffa banner before having first competed for the World Extreme Cage fighting promotion back in November 2010; he faced Erik Koch at WEC 52 and suffered his first career loss via TKO in the first round. Shortly after this the WEC was closed down and Francisco made the move over to the UFC, in his first fight he faced Reuben Duran at the Ultimate Fighter 13 finale and was forced to tap out to a rear-naked choke in the third round.
Unfortunately due to these back-to-back losses Rivera was released from the UFC but has since racked up two consecutive wins fighting for the Tachi Palace Fights promotion, it seems that his hard work outside of the octagon has paid off and he now has the opportunity to impress the UFC and the fans with a big win.
Twenty-eight-year-old Alex Soto made his debut for the UFC in November 2011 against Michael McDonald at UFC 139; unfortunately he lost the fight via TKO in the first round. Prior to joining the UFC Alex Soto was undefeated having racked up a 6-0-1 record fighting at various shows in the United States, Mexico and Japan. Alex now has the opportunity to bounce back from his loss against McDonald and begin his climb up the bantamweight division.
It just so happens ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) had Rivera on our radio show, Pro MMA Now Radio, last week to discuss an upcoming fight he had scheduled with Tachi Palace Fights, and we talked extensively about his true desire to return to the UFC. Be sure to check it out.