Sherdog.com is reporting that a planned bout between UFC middleweight fighters Chael Sonnen and Yoshihiro Akiyama has been canned due to Sonnen’s recent UFC-mandated suspension, which came in light of the tumult which has lately surrounded Sonnen. The Greg Jackson-trained 185-pounder Nate Marquardt will step in for Sonnen, and will take on Akiyama this March.
Marquardt most recently appeared in action against Yushin Okami this past November, where he lost a unanimous decision in a fight which prompted UFC president Dana White to declare him a choke artist. One of the consensus best middleweights competing in the UFC, “The Great” has gone 2-2 in his last four, balancing decision losses to Okami and Chael Sonnen with finish wins over Demian Maia and Rousimar Palhares. A former King of Pancrase, Marquardt’s current record stands at 30-10-2, with eight of his wins coming by TKO, fifteen by submission and seven by decision.
Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama has proven to be one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, as he has won Fight of the Night honors in his three promotional appearances. Akiyama debuted in the promotion at UFC 100, where he took home a split decision win over Alan Belcher in an instant classic slugfest. He would fall in his next two outings however, succumbing to a last round submission at the legs of Chris Leben and losing a unanimous decision to Michael Bisping this past October.
The two are scheduled to meet at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans this March 19th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.