Talk about stepping in a turd and turning it into gold. Word broke late last night that Yoshihiro Akiyama suffered an undisclosed injury that has forced him out of his upcoming UFC 149 bout with Thiago Alves. To say that the MMA blogosphere entered a brief yet hysterical state of mourning upon hearing this news would be an understatement…until we found out that Afghanistan-born power puncher Siyar Bahadurzada would be stepping in as his replacement. Then there was much rejoicing.
Bahadurzada is coming off a quick and brutal first round knockout of Paulo Thiago at UFC on FUEL 2, the first stoppage loss of Thiago’s career. The win instantly put the welterweight division on notice, and a victory over Alves would further cement Bahadurzada’s status amongst the division’s elite. To be fair, Alves has been struggling a bit as of late, sandwiching a first round submission win over Papy Abedi at UFC 138 between a decision loss to Rick Story at UFC 130 and a most recent submission loss to Martin Kampmann at UFC on FX 2. Despite the fact that “Pitbull” seemed on his way to a clear cut decision victory in that fight, an ill-timed takedown at the end of the third round provided Kampmann all the leeway he would need to snatch up a fight-ending guillotine choke.
Alves should not have to fear the submission prowess of Bahadurzada coming into this one, as two of his four losses have come by way of submission — the most recent of which was a first round heel hook to Jorge Santiago at Sengoku – Sixth Battle back in 2008. What we’re saying is, expect a brawl, Potato Nation, because what appeared to be a decent scrap at first glance has now been updated to an early candidate for Fight of the Night and/or Knockout of the Night.
Also hit by the undisclosed injury bug has been that of TUF 11 standout and CagePotato guest blogger Rich Attonito, who has withdrawn from his UFC on FX 4 showdown with Rick Story. Stepping in for Attonito will be Papy Abedi, who you may remember for his signature eight panel cap and cigar look, or his inability to defend a rear-naked choke. Abedi is currently 0-2 in the UFC, with both losses coming by way of the aforementioned submission, most recently suffering the same fate at the hands of James Head at UFC on FUEL 2.
This is likely a do-or-die situation for Abedi, and he’s facing a much more dangerous opponent in Story than he previously faced in Head. Granted, Story is coming off a pair of losses to Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann, but those came on the heels of a six fight win streak over the likes of current number one contender Johny Hendricks, Brian Foster, and Thiago Alves.
UFC on FX 4 goes down on June 22nd at the Revel in Atlantic City, New Jersey *shudder* and features a headlining lightweight clash between Gray Maynard and Clay Guida.
Who you got for these, Potato Nation?