A rib injury recently suffered by George Sotiropolous (9-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has opened a door for UFC newcomer Matt Veach (10-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
Veach, a member of the Illinois-based HIT Squad, replaces Sotiropoulos in a UFC Fight Night 17 preliminary bout with Matt Grice (9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). A source close to Grice confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC Fight Night 17 takes place Feb. 7 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla., and airs on Spike TV.
As of late Wednesday, the UFC had yet to announce the fight-card change.
The setback is yet another disappointment for Sotiropoulos, who last fought in the UFC at UFC Fight Night 13 in April 2008. The 31-year-old earned a TKO win over Roman Mitichyan that night, but injuries has kept "The Ultimate Fighter 6" cast member out of action since.
His replacement, Veach, enters the UFC with a stellar 10-0 record with nine stoppage victories in just 18 months of professional competition. Fighting in Midwest-based shows, the former high school and collegiate wrestler hosted posted six submission victories and three knockout wins.
Grice, meanwhile, will be returning to action for the first time since his October 2007 "Fight of the Night" with Jason Black at UFC 77. Grice put his MMA career on hold for the past year in order to complete training at the Oklahoma City Police Department academy. With that training behind him, the 27-year-old will now renew his commitment to the UFC.