Courtesy of Chael Sonnen’s unenviable legal predicament, Yoshihiro Akiyama will now face former middleweight top contender Nate Marquardt at “UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans” in New Jersey.
ESPN.com confirmed the critical showdown with sources close to the situation on Thursday.
Akiyama owns an impressive 13-3 professional record, but Octagon fans haven’t experienced too much of his “Sexyama” side. The Japanese sensation has posted a disappointing 1-2 mark with the UFC.
Speaking of not-up-to-par, Marquardt was thoroughly trounced by Yushin Okami at UFC 122 this past November. “Nate the Great’s” performance was so atrocious, company president Dana White dubbed him the division’s ultimate “choker.”
Akiyama was set to do battle with Sonnen in the March 19th show, however the controversial wrestler pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering on Monday. He has since been temporarily suspended by White.
UFC 128 takes place inside the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. A light heavyweight title scrap between champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Rashad Evans will headline the pay-per-view broadcast.
Here are the contestants rumored/expected to compete in the star-studded card:
Dan Miller vs. David Branch
Kamal Shalorus vs. Jim Miller
Luiz Cane vs. Karlos Vemola
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland
Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Nate Marquardt
Bredan Schaub vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
Rashad Evans vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion)