The terrible tragedy that struck Japan in the form of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami has affected many, and we at MMAmania.com send our condolences to all those overseas and beyond that are currently dealing with the horrific events.
With that said, Yoshihiro Akiyama, who was scheduled to compete at UFC 128 on March 19 in New Jersey, against Nate Marquardt, is currently dealing with the fallout in Japan and will not be able to fight next weekend. And according to MMADieHards.com, Dan Miller will step in to take his place.
Company President Dana White had this to say about the switch:
"Yoshihiro Akiyama will not be able to participate at UFC 128 due to the tragedy in Japan. New Jersey native Dan Miller proves once again that he will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime by agreeing to step up from the prelims to face Nate Marquardt. Marquardt has long been a top ten ranked middleweight and Miller jumped at the opportunity to face him."
The preliminary fight White is referring to, is Miller's previously scheduled bout against Nick Catone, which wasn't scheduled to air on the pay-per-view portion of the broadcast.
While the circumstances that created the opportunity for the Jersey native are far less than desirable, it is a big step up in competition and a chance to break into the middleweight elite. Can he do it?
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 Chael 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.
A win over Dan Miller will likely go a long way in putting him back in the boss's good graces.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for any updates or changes to this fight card as they become available.