UFC 98: Xavier Foupa-Pokam to replace an injured James Irvin against Drew McFedries on May 23

Set to return from a nine-month suspension at UFC 98, James Irvin will have to wait just a little bit longer to debut at middleweight after a knee injury has forced him to withdraw from his bout against Drew McFedries at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 23.

MMAWeekly is reporting that UFC sophomore Xavier Foupa-Pokam will step in and take his place..

"Professor X" (20-10) came up short in his UFC debut after a tough unanimous decision loss to Denis Kang at UFC 97 from The Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 18.

Prior to entering the UFC, the Cage Rage and Palace Fighting Championship (PFC) veteran was riding a six-fight win streak. In fact, he's dropped just two fights in his last 14 attempts – the decision to Kang and a submission loss to Murilo "Ninja" Rua back in December 2007.

The French fighter has a nice mix of submissions and (technical) knockouts on his resume. He is definitely an experienced, capable and dangerous fighter that McFedries — who needs a win bad here — cannot underestimate.

"Massacre" has had a rollercoaster career inside the Octagon, winning every other fight and being unable to string together consecutive wins in six attempts with the promotion.

That is until he locked horns with Thales Leites on short notice at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote" back in October 2008. McFedries dropped his second consecutive bout courtesy of a first round submission (rear naked choke). He lost to Mike Massenzio via submission (kimura) at UFC Fight Night 15 in Omaha, Neb., on September 17, before the loss to the Brazilian.

It's now or never -- perhaps for both men. A loss for Foupa-Pokam would take him to 0-2 inside the cage. Not a good place to be considering Zuffa's recent roster cuts.

UFC 98 will feature the light heavyweight title fight between Rashad Evans and undefeated challenger Lyoto Machida. Also on the May 23 card, former UFC welterweight champions Matt Hughes and Matt Serra will finally settle their eternal grudge match.

For the latest UFC 98 fight card and rumors click here.

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