After it was announced on Monday evening that Rory MacDonald had pulled out of UFC 158 due to injury, the dominoes began to fall as holes in the card were quickly filled. J0hny Hendricks was moved into MacDonald’s place to take on Carlos Condit, which left Hendricks’ opponent, Jake Ellenberger, without an opponent.
After campaigning for the fight on his Twitter account, former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nate Marquardt (32-11-2, 10-4 UFC) will make his return to the UFC to take on Ellenberger (28-6, 7-2 UFC) in a fight on the night’s main card, thus filling all the holes left by MacDonald’s injury. USA Today reported the news on Tuesday morning.
That wasn’t the only spot needed to be filled, though, as bantamweight Mitch Gagnon was forced out of his scheduled bout with Issei Tamura. Team Alpha Male fighter and TUF 14 finalist T.J. Dillashaw (6-1, 2-1 UFC) will step in to take on Tamura (7-3, 1-1 UFC) in a fight on the night’s preliminary card. The Canadian Press’ Neil Davidson first reported the switch in opponents.
Marquardt returns to the UFC following a stint in Strikeforce. He defeated Tyron Woodley to win the promotion’s welterweight championship, but lost it to Tarec Saffiedine at the promotion’s final event. He returns after he was released by the UFC the day before he was set to fight Rick Story at UFC Live 4 in June 2011 after failing to receive medical clearance, thus being unable to compete. It was later revealed that undergoing testosterone replacement therapy was the reason.
Ellenberger comes into the bout following a decision win over Jay Hieron at UFC On FX 5 in October. He had put together a six-fight win streak before being knocked out by Martin Kampmann in June at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale.
Dillashaw looks to add to his two-fight win streak. He has wins over Vaughan Lee and Walel Watson in his last two appearances. Tamura looks to bounce back from a TKO loss to Raphael Assuncao at UFC On FUEL TV 4 in July.