Destruction was visited upon Japan yesterday, as an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami tore a better part of the nation from its foundation, leaving hundreds dead and more missing or displaced. As a result MMA events across the country have been canceled and it was announced by the UFC that Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama has withdrawn from his scheduled UFC 128 bout against Nate Marquardt.
UFC president Dana White has assured that Akiyama and his family are safe and free from harm.
With the bout scheduled for next weekend, New Jersey native Dan Miller has stepped up from his undercard bout against Nick Catone and will take on Marquardt in Akiyama’s stead, according to a press release made by UFC president Dana White.
“New Jersey native Dan Miller proves once again that he will fight anyone, anywhere, any time by agreeing to step up from the prelims to face Nate Marquardt,” said White. “Marquardt has long been a top-10 ranked middleweight, and Miller jumped at the opportunity to face him.”
Fortunately, the change shouldn’t bother Marquardt very much, as he recently told FightLine.com that he just wants to earn quality wins in the division to get back to a title shot – and a victory over the ever-ready Miller would be a move down that path.
“It doesn’t matter to me. I know a lot of people don’t like that answer, but really whoever gets me in front of the title holder, then that’s who’s next,” said Marquardt. “I am very respectful of the UFC and their decision making process. Whoever they feel is right is who I fight.”
Marquardt and Miller will square off next Saturday at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones, which goes down at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. No word yet on when Akiyama will make his return to the cage.