After Cezar Ferreira withdrew from his bout against Tom Breese in London due to injury, the Ultimate Fighting Championship again found a solid replacement in Ian Heinisch.
According to the UFC on Thursday, middleweight Heinisch (12-1) is stepping up on short notice to face Breese (11-1) at UFC Fight Night 147 in London on March 16. The promotion's original plan for the matchup was for Breese to face Alessio Di Chirico, but he pulled out of his bout after needing surgery and was temporarily replaced by Ferreira. Ferreira was then forced to withdraw after suffering a knee injury, leading to Heinisch's placement.
At UFC Fight Night 140 in Argentina last November, the former Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight champ Heinisch made his debut on short notice by replacing an injured Breese and faced Ferreira, defeating him by decision. Heinisch became the fourth LFA middleweight champion to be signed by the UFC, and every one of those champions has vacated their belt to fight for the UFC or Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series before defending it once.
Former welterweight Breese moved up to middleweight in his last bout after dropping a contentious decision to Sean Strickland at UFC 199 in 2016. Breese was unable to compete for over a year, and was deemed medically "unfit" to compete on the day of UFC Fight Night 107 against Oluwale Bamgbose. At his new weight class, he knocked out Daniel Kelly in the first round at UFC Fight Night 130 in Liverpool last May. Breese has only gone the distance twice in his career, including his lone loss to Strickland, and holds seven first round finish victories.
UFC Fight Night 147, also known as UFC on ESPN+ 5, is headlined by a welterweight clash between Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal on March 16 at the O2 Arena in London. Co-headlining the event will be a welterweight matchup of Leon Edwards and Gunnar Nelson.