With Chael Sonnen suspended by the UFC, Yoshihiro Akiyama will instead face middleweight contender Nate Marquardt at UFC 128 on March 19 in Newark, New Jersey, according to ESPN.
Marquardt (30-10-2) fell to Yushin Okami in November with a shot at the 185-pound title on the line after winning four of his last five, while Akiyama (13-3) has earned “Fight of the Night” honors in all three of his UFC bouts, but will be looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping.
The UFC 128 fight card is headlined by light heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. former title-holder Rashad Evans and also includes Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland.
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Pictured: Nate Marquardt