Villasenor Replaces Rua on “Saturday Night Fights”


Joey Villasenor and Riki Fukuda exchange punches at EliteXC: Uprising. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.

Joey Villasenor, fresh off of a knockout of UFC veteran Ryan Jensen at last month’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show, will replace former EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo Rua against Phil Baroni at EliteXC’s first prime-time show on CBS on May 31st.

EliteXC parent company ProElite announced the news on their official website late last night. No reason as to why Rua was replaced in the bout was given.

Since being knocked out by a flying knee courtesy of Robbie Lawler at PRIDE 32, Villasenor has gone on to win two out of his last three fights besides his victory over Jensen a few weeks back. A TKO loss to Rua at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs Baroni was sandwiched in between wins over David Loiseau and Riki Fukuda at separate EliteXC events last year.

Rua has not fought since submitting Xavier Foupa-Pokam at a Cage Rage event this past December. The Chute Boxe product lost his EliteXC middleweight belt after being stopped with strikes at the hands of current champion Robbie Lawler at EliteXC: Uprising in September 2007.

Heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson is slated to headline the event against PRIDE veteran James Thompson. EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler will also put his belt on the line against Scott Smith in a bout that will likely be a sure-fire war on the feet.

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