Two-time UFC lightweight title challenger Kenny Florian (14-5) has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled bout with fellow contender Evan Dunham (11-1) at UFC Fight Night 23 “Fight for the Troops 2” in Kileen, Texas.

Florian had worked his way into a fight to determine the number-one contender at 155, but dropped a unanimous decision at UFC 118 to Gray Maynard.

Dunham had been working his way up to title contention, earning victories in his first four UFC bouts. However, Dunham lost a controversial split decision to former champion Sean Sherk at UFC 119.

The Florian vs. Dunham bout had been slotted for the Jan. 22 main event.

UPDATE (9 p.m. CT): Florian has released a statement on his website confirming the news:

It is with deep regret that I will not be able to compete in my scheduled fight against Evan Dunham on January 22nd, due to a knee injury I sustained during training this morning. Although I have not had an MRI as of yet; the doctors are cautiously optimistic that it will not require surgery.

I want to express my sincere apologies to the fans, the UFC and Evan for not being able to compete at UFC Fight Night 23: Fight for the Troops 2. Since early September, I have been training for this fight. Evan is a great fighter and has undoubtedly been working very hard towards this fight as well. Plus, it is a big disappointment that I will not be able to fight in the octagon for the brave soldiers that fight for us.

I am determined to return to the octagon in the first half on 2011. Accordingly, I will keep you all updated.

UPDATE (10 p.m. CT):

According to, Dunham will instead face off against Melvin Guillard in the main event. Guillard had previously been scheduled to compete on the card against longtime veteran Yves Edwards.

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