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UFC 118: Gerald Harris vs Alessio Sakara planned for Aug. 28 with Jorge Rivera hurt


And to think there was a point in time when the UFC didn't want Gerald Harris.

The former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 contestant, fresh off a knockout slam over Dave Branch at UFC 116 back on July 3, will step in on short notice to face Alessio Sakara at UFC 118: "Edgar vs. Penn 2" on Aug. 28 in Boston, replacing the injured Jorge Rivera, who was forced to withdraw from the middleweight contest with a broken arm.

MMAWeekly brought word of the change in opponents late yesterday evening.

Harris was bounced from season seven of TUF by eventual winner Amir Sadollah. Since then, "The Hurricane" has lived up to his moniker, laying waste to ten straight victims, including nine finishes dating back to his July 2008 rebirth.

No doubt the Tulsa native is making the promotion second-guess their decision not to include him in the TUF 7 Finale, but Harris perhaps owes his maturity as a fighter to the time he spent on the regional circuit.

That experience could prove to be trouble for Sakara -- though "Legionarius" has put together a decent win streak himself over the last few months,  defeating the likes of Thales Leites at UFC 101: "Declaration" and most recently James Irvin at UFC on Versus 1.

After toiling with mediocrity for just about five years over the span of 10 fights, switching both weight classes and training camps, Sakara appeared to be on the verge of his big break, getting paired with former number one contender Nate Marquardt at UFC 116 earlier this month.

Unfortunately, the Italian striker had to pull out of the contest with "The Great" due to the untimely death of his father. The fight with Rivera was announced shortly thereafter but he will change partners yet again and test his might against the surging Harris.

Gerald Harris vs. Alessio Sakara. Who ya' got?

UFC 118: "Edgar vs. Penn 2" will feature the rematch between Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn for "The Answer's" lightweight title, a number one 155-pound contender bout in the form of Kenny Florian vs. Gray Maynard and of course, the highly anticipated heavyweight freak show between James Toney and Randy Couture.

For the latest UFC 118 fight card and line-up click here.

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