(If only all of Jake Shields fights were sped up and accompanied with Benny Hill theme-like music. Video courtesy of YouTube/JayCosta7)
The UFC announced last night that Jake Ellenberger will step in for Brian Foster against Sean Pierson at UFC 129 later this month in Toronto and that fellow welterweight Diego “The Dream” Sanchez has been added to a four-man grappling tournament at the weekend’s UFC Expo.
7-1 in his last eight fights, including wins over John Howard and Mike Pyle and a close split-decision loss to Carlos Condit, Ellenberger (24-5) has been building a case for UFC welterweight contendership and will provide a step up in competition for Pierson (11-4), who beat Matt Riddle by unanimous decision in his Octagon debut at UFC 124 in December. Foster was forced to pull out of the fight when an MRI revealed he was suffering from a brain hemorrhage.
Sanchez has been added to the UFC Expo line-up as part of a four-man grappling tournament that will also feature top-ranked Canadian Andrew McInnnes, Brazilian Top Team Canada founder Fabio Holanda and jiu-jitsu ace Ryan Hall. A longtime competitor at Grapplers Quest and ADCC, Sanchez, who holds a brown belt in BJJ under Royler Gracie, has hung in there with some of the best grapplers in the world including Marcelo Garcia and Jake Shields.
In the opening bracket set for Friday, April 29, Sanchez will square off with McInnes, while Holanda will take on Hall. The final match-up will happen on day two of the expo, Saturday, April 30 prior to UFC 129.
“The UFC Fan Expo will feature some great matches between some of the best grapplers in the world,” some guy from the UFC’s PR department wrote UFC President Dana White said. “I’m really excited to see Diego Sanchez compete and try to win the tournament. He’s always really tough on the ground and he has a ton of heart.”