Leites fills out UFC 167 card

Thales Leites and Ed Herman
Ed Herman and Thales Leites square off at UFC 167.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.


Fresh off a successful octagon return, Brazilian middleweight Thales Leites will step into the vacant slot at UFC 167 opposite Ed Herman, Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight.

Leites is replacing Rafael Natal, who was shifted over to the UFC Fight for the Troops 3 card to fight Tim Kennedy in the main event.

The 32-year-old Leites is in his second run with the UFC, following a stint from 2006-2009. In his comeback fight, he earned a unanimous decision over Tom Watson at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro. The former divisional No. 1 contender is 21-4 with 13 submissions in his career. He’ll have just over six weeks to prepare for the fight.

For Herman, the opponent switch does not mark a departure style-wise, as Natal is also known primarily for his grappling acumen. Herman (21-9, 1 no contest) is coming off a split-decision victory over Trevor Smith at a UFC on FOX show in July, a bout that won the evening’s Fight of the Night award.

UFC 167 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and features welterweight champion taking on Johny Hendricks in the night’s headliner.

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