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UPDATED: Alves' CAT scan shows brain irregularity, fight off; Saunders to fight Fitch

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TMZ breaks the news:

UFC's Thiago "Pitbull" Alves will not fight at Saturday's UFC 111, because a CAT Scan shows an irregularity in his brain ... TMZ has learned.

Thiago was scheduled to rumble with Jon Fitch on Saturday -- but a pre-fight CAT Scan revealed an irregularity -- a source close to 26-year-old Pitbull tells TMZ the irregularity involves an artery in the brain.

UFC honcho Dana White tells TMZ he will fly Pitbull to a specialist for further evaluation. White says, "If it's true, it can be career-ending."

This also was confirmed by Kevin Iole on his Twitter. Jon Fitch will be without an opponent now.

This is terrible news for all involved. It's still too early to speculate on what the future holds for Alves, but we wish him the best.

UPDATE: Kurt Pellegrino has tweeted that his fight with Fabricio Camoes is being bumped to the main card to replace Alves/Fitch.

For all my twitterbugs I'm now on the Main Card so that means I'm on ppv haha

UPDATE No. 2: Our friends at are reporting that the UFC is looking to find a replacement for Fitch, although it will be tough because that fighter would have to be licensed in New Jersey and because of the state's strict licensing requirements.

Fitch has been instructed to maintain his current weight -- though the former collegiate wrestling standout has offered to move up to Middleweight (185-pounds) if it increases the promotion's chances of finding a suitable opponent.

UPDATE No. 3TMZ is back, now reporting that Ben Saunders, who was scheduled to face Jake Ellenberger on the show, will step in to fight Fitch. Also of note is that White says Saunders will get a title shot if he beats Fitch. reports that Ellenberger will be paid his show money and win bonus.

Also from MMAJunkie:

(Alves' agent Malki) Kawa did say there was no bleeding of the brain. Additionally, he said that Alves did not appear to be in immediate danger and that the finding did not appear to indicate any serious medical concern. …

Kawa said Alves hoped to shift the fight to the UFC's Wednesday event in North Carolina, UFC Fight Night 21. Unfortunately, it appears the timeframe is just too tight, and that option appears unlikely.

Kawa hopes Alves can fight on UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

SBN coverage of UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy