A re-injury of his hip has forced Mike “The Martian” Ricci to withdraw from his scheduled World Series of Fighting (WSOF.com) main event bout with Caros “The Future” Fodor (10-4), who will now face streaking Blackzilians ace Luiz “Buscape” Firmino (18-6) under co-main event status at WSOF27, live on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. on Saturday, Jan. 23.
Originally billed as the co-main event, the light heavyweight (205 pounds) contest between heavy-handed finisher Teddy Holder (9-2) of Bartlett, Tenn. and undefeated Shamil Gamzatov (9-0) of Makhachkala, Russia has been elevated to the main event.
“Our entire team wishes Mike Ricci a full and speedy recovery, and hopes to see him return soon,” said World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo.
“Luiz Firmino, no stranger to our decagon cage,” continued Sefo, “is truly a courageous warrior for stepping up on such short notice to compete against a fellow star like Caros Fodor. We commend Luiz for doing so and look forward to seeing him back in action.”
The 33-year-old Firmino of Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil is riding a five-fight win streak. His last two victories – a unanimous decision over Jacob Volkmann on October 26, 2013 and a unanimous decision over Tyson Griffin on June 21, 2014, both came under the World Series of Fighting banner.
Prior to the victory over Volkmann, Firmino earned an impressive, five-round unanimous decision over Luis “Baboon” Palomino, who has since gone on to challenge reigning, undefeated champion Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje twice for the World Series of Fighting lightweight title.
A veteran of professional MMA since the young age of 18, Firmino also boasts notable wins over prolific striker “Diamond” Ryan Healy and submission expert Toby Imada, both of whom Firmino defeated by way of unanimous decision.