Carlos Eduardo Rocha isn’t Jake Shields or Jon Fitch, but he apparently will be Jake Ellenberger’s opponent at “UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort” nonetheless. Sources close to the situation confirmed the welterweight scrap with MMAJunkie.com late Tuesday evening.
Ellenberger was slated to face Fitch on this very card, but was bumped when BJ Penn quickly disposed of Matt Hughes at UFC 123. Fitch and Penn will now battle for what’s believed to be next dibs at the belt – after Shields, of course.
Speaking of the former Strikeforce middleweight champ, Ellenberger had some choice words for Shields and his propensity to conjure up excuses when not living up to expectations. Shields posted a lackluster split decision win over Martin Kampmann in his Octagon debut at UFC 121.
He later admitted to gassing after the opening five minutes due to his severe weight cut.
Although the Nebraskan desperately requested a tango, Shields has bigger fish to fry as his win earned him a shot at the welterweight crown. He’ll challenge the victor of UFC 124‘s main event between champion Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck.
Ellenberger holds a dominant 22-5 professional record and has finished off 19 of his victims before the final horns have sounded.
While Rocha’s credentials don’t compare to those of Fitch or Shields’, he certainly is no slouch. “Ta Danado” owns an unblemished 9-0 record, with each of his fights ending in finishes. All but one of Rocha’s wins came via submission.
UFC 126 takes place inside the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here are the contestants rumored/expected to participate in the February 5th show:
Gabe Ruediger vs. Paul Taylor
Daniel Roberts and Greg Soto
Sam Stout vs. Paul Kelly
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Antonio Banuelos vs. Miguel Torres
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin
Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion)