With only a week until UFC Fight Night 30, the UFC needed a featherweight replacement for Mike Wilkinson; up steps Robert Whiteford.
Scottish featherweight Whiteford (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is expected to step in and face Jimy Hettes (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) next Saturday in Manchester. According to sources, the contest has been verbally agreed on both sides and the official bout agreements are expected to be completed shortly.
Not only is it a first for Whiteford, with it being his UFC debut, it’s also a first for the UFC as they sign their first Scottish fighter. While the UK has long been a provider of some top fighters to the UFC such as Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy and the recent explosion of Conor McGregor, none of them have ever been Scottish.
Whiteford is currently 10-1 on the regional scene, with a 10 fight win streak and half of wins coming by KO or TKO. the 30 year old lost his pro MMA debut in 2009 after a 2-0 amateur record, but has since been on a tear, most recently defeating Paul Reed via unanimous decision at SFC – Reawakening in June.
The Armadale native splits his training time between home-country gym ‘Dinky Ninjas’ and the world renowned American Top Team.
Jimy Hettes will step into the Octagon with the same record as Whiteford, but is coming off a decision loss to Marcus Brimage back at UFC 152 in 2012.
Hettes made his UFC debut in 2011 with an impressive submission victory over Alex Caceres before beating Nam Phan by decision 4 months later.
UFC Fight Night 30 goes down next Saturday, 26 October from the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England. The amin event sees Mark Munoz return to the UK to welcome the decorated Brazilian Lyoto Machida to the middleweight division.
UFC Fight Night 30 Fight Card:
BT Sport/FOX Sports 2 Main Card (7 p.m GMT / 3 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Lyoto Machida vs. Mark Munoz
155 lbs.: Melvin Guillard vs. Ross Pearson
205 lbs.: Ryan Jimmo vs. Jimi Manuwa
155 lbs.: Norman Parke vs. Jon Tuck
185 lbs.: Nicholas Musoke vs. Alessio Sakara
145 lbs.: Phil Harris vs. John Lineker
Facebook Prelims (11:45 a.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Piotr Hallmann vs. Al Iaquinta
185 lbs.: Luke Barnatt vs. Andrew Craig
135 lbs.: Jessica Andrade vs. Rosi Sexton
145 lbs.: Cole Miller vs. Andy Ogle
145 lbs.: Jim Hettes vs. Robert Whiteford
185 lbs.: Michael Kuiper vs. Bradley Scott