Earlier today, ESPN's Birtish affiliate revealed that former UFC #1 welterweight contender Thiago "The Pitbull" Alves has failed a CAT scan and was pulled from Saturday night's UFC 111 card in Newark, New Jersey. He was sceduled to face Jon Fitch in his first bout since UFC 100 in July 2009, where he dropped a unanimous decision in a title fight against champion Georges St-Pierre.
Alves' bout on Saturday was set to be a rematch against fellow former welterweight title challenger Fitch, whom Alves lost to via TKO in June 2006. St-Pierre will be headlining UFC 111 on Saturday night against British star Dan Hardy and many believed the winner of the Fitch vs. Alves rematch would determine the next title challenger to the winner of St-Pierre vs. Hardy. St-Pierre has previously defended his title against both Fitch and Alves.
However, the pre-fight CAT scans on Alves revealed a brain irregularity, which forced him off the card. Alves will now fly to see a specialist for further examination to determine the next course of action in what appears to be a career-threatening condition for the 26-year-old fighter.
UFC welterweight Ben Saunders later confirmed on TapouT Radio that he will now fill in for Alves on the main card against Fitch. Meanwhile, Jake Ellenberger, who was scheduled to face Saunders on the main card will not compete. Ellenberger will still be paid his "show" money and "win" money to make up for the last minute switch.
To fill in the spot that was vacated on the main card due to these last minute changes, the UFC moved the lightweight bout between local New Jersey veteran Kurt Pellegrino and fellow jiu-jitsu black belt Fabrício "Morango" Camões to the main card, which will be televised on the PPV broadcast. The main card of UFC 111 airs live on PPV on Saturday, March 27th, 2010 at 10 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. PST.