Saturday, March 12, 2011
Yoshihiro Akiyama out of UFC 128
By Josh Gross ESPN.com
Middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama has withdrawn from his UFC 128 bout set for March 19 against Nate Marquardt, a result of Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami that debilitated the 33-year-old fighter's home country of Japan.
New Jersey native Dan Miller (14-4) will step in for Akiyama (13-3) against Marquardt (30-10-2), UFC president Dana White said in a statement on UFC.com.
Miller, 29, was signed to fight Nick Catone at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on the same card as Akiyama-Marquardt. A new opponent for Catone has not been named.
Akiyama resides in Osaka, which was largely unaffected by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake. He and his family are safe, according to UFC officials.
The change lifts Miller to the pay-per-view portion of the card, where he joins his brother, lightweight Jim Miller (19-2), who welcomes Iranian UFC debutant Kamal Shalorus (7-0-2).
The event is headlined by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's light heavyweight title defense versus Jon Jones.
Josh Gross covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.