Recently suspended Chael Sonnen is definitely out of his planned fight against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 128. ESPN is reporting that Nate Marquardt will take on Akiyama instead.

A middleweight bout between former No. 1 contender Nate Marquardt and Yoshihiro Akiyama has been slated for UFC 128 in Newark, N.J., on March 19, according to multiple sources.

Contracts have been distributed and verbal agreements are in place from both fighters.

This one might be a must-win for Akiyama. He’s coming off consecutive losses to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping. I can’t think of another fighter who lost two straight to middle-tier opponents and got a shot at one of the division’s perennial contenders.

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