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Lyoto Machida to replace Quinton Jackson against Rashad Evans at UFC 98 on May 23

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans (13-0-1) will defend his crown against undefeated 205-pound division contender Lyoto Machida (14-0) in the main event of UFC 98 from The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, May 23, 2009 according to

UFC 98: "Identity Crisis," was originally headlined by Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, who were set to collide in a heavyweight title unification bout until Mir was forced to bow out with a knee injury that required minor surgery.

Mir and Lesnar are now scheduled for fisticuffs at UFC 100 on July 11.

The main event was quickly (and awkwardly) changed to Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans during the UFC 96 broadcast on March 8. "Rampage" defeated Evans' teammate Keith Jardine via unanimous decision and had a nice war of words with "Sugar" following the bout, but appeared lukewarm to the idea of competing just over two months after his scrap with "The Dean of Mean."

Now it appears nagging injuries and a brutal training camp have left Jackson -- who would have competed three times in the span of five months -- a little worse for the wear, and he's now opted to settle for the title of number one contender with a guaranteed shot at the winner of Evans vs. Machida at some point in late 2009.

"The Dragon" has been patiently waiting for a crack at the title, all the while stringing together six straight victories inside the Octagon, including his coming out party at UFC 94 where he floored Thiago Silva in the first round for his first(T)KO finish under the UFC banner.

Like Machida, Evans has taken some heat in the past for his cautious approach. That all but went out the window after a devastating KO over former light heavyweight deity Chuck Liddell and a decisive TKO finish against ex-205 champ Forrest Griffin.

Now pitted against one another, it will be interesting to see if they revert back to the run-and-gun approach or if someone gets the lights shut off in the first round.

Also on the May 23 card, former UFC welterweight champions Matt Hughes and Matt Serra will settle their eternal grudge match and former number one middleweight contender Yushin Okami will return to the Octagon to challenge the surging 185-pound standout Dan Miller.

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

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