UFC 128: Nate Marquardt vs Yoshihiro Akiyama booked for March 19 in New Jersey


Chael Sonnen's loss may be "Great" for a certain rebounding middleweight contender.

That's because Nate Marquardt will step in for the mouthy politician and face Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 128 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on March 19, according to ESPN.com.

Marquardt, long considered one of the top 185-pound fighters in the world, hasn't exactly been lighting the division on fire as of late. The Greg Jackson disciple, after winning three straight, dropped a decision to the previously mentioned Sonnen in a number one contender fight.

A (somewhat) controversial technical knockout over submission specialist Rousimar Palhares led to another number one contender fight. And -- just like before -- Nate was not so "Great" and put in an uninspired performance against Yushin Okami at UFC 122.

So uninspired, that it drew the ire of company President Dana White, who criticized the middleweights game plan as well as his famous camp.

Would a win over Akiyama put him back in the boss's good graces?

With so many talented, albeit troubled, fighters headed to the unemployment line after even one poor performance, Yoshihiro Akiyama could be considered lucky.

Since debuting with the world's largest fight promotion at the historic UFC 100 event back in July of 2009 with a split decision win (that some felt he lost) over Alan Belcher, "Sexyama" has lost consecutive fights to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping respectively.

I suppose all three of his Octagon appearances resulting in "Fight of the Night" honors has done wonders to keep him from receiving that dreaded pink slip.

Of course, it's rare for a fighter to drop three in a row and survive the wrath of the UFC, so you can bet the Judo specialist will be bringing everything he has to the cage on March 19.

UFC 128 was recently made official for Newark, New Jersey and will feature "Shogun" Rua defending his light heavyweight title against Rashad Evans. Urijah Faber vs Eddie Wineland will serve as the co-main event of the evening.

Stay tuned to MMAMania.com for more on this still-developing fight card.

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