(No man has seen Xavier Foupa-Pokam‘s real face and lived.)
— As previously rumored, WEC welterweight champ Carlos Condit has signed on to face Martin Kampmann in the main event of UFC Fight Night 18 (April 1st, Nashville). Brock Larson, who Condit was originally scheduled to face in a title defense at WEC 39, will also be competing on the Fight Night 18 card, likely against UFC newcomer Jesse Sanders. Larson has fought twice in the UFC, losing a decision to Jon Fitch in 2005, and winning a decision over Keita Nakamura in 2006.
— Denis Kang, who took an upset loss to Alan Belcher in his Octagon debut at UFC 93, will try to redeem himself in front of his fellow Canadians at UFC 97 (April 18th, Montreal). Kang will be taking on Xavier "Professor X" Foupa-Pokam, a French Cage Rage/Palace Fighting Championships vet and UFC first-timer who has won his last seven fights by stoppage.
— Undefeated TUF 6 standout Ben Saunders has been forced to drop off the UFC 96 card due to a foot injury, and has been replaced by Tamdan McCrory. Saunders was originally supposed to face welterweight submission specialist Dustin Hazelett — who most recently submitted McCrory via armbar at UFC 91 — until Hazelett dropped off the card with an undisclosed injury and was replaced by 5-0 prospect Ryan Madigan. So now we’ve gone from Saunders vs. Hazelett to McCrory vs. Madigan. The world is not fair.
— Another TUF 6 vet, George Sotiropoulos, has sustained a rib injury and will no longer be facing Matt Grice this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 17. Replacing him will be Matt Veach, who has racked up a 10-0 record in midwestern promotions, with nine wins by stoppage in the first two rounds. Grice hasn’t fought since his UFC 77 Fight of the Night decision victory over Jason Black in October 2007, as he put his MMA career on hold to complete training at the Oklahoma City Police Department academy. Sotiropoulos is the third fighter to drop off the Tampa, Florida, card with an injury, after Hermes Franca and Amir Sadollah.
— TUF 8 lightweight runner-up Phillipe Nover will look to get his first pro win in the Octagon at UFC 98 (May 23rd, Las Vegas), as he takes on Kyle Bradley. After entering the UFC on a seven-fight win-streak, Bradley was immediately thrown into the deep end, and has taken consecutive TKO losses to Chris Lytle and Joe Lauzon. One more, and he’s dunzo.