With Chael Sonnen out of the picture for the time being, Yoshihiro Akiyama will remain on the UFC 128 fight card and will now face Nate Marquardt in a middleweight match-up on the New Jersey show set for March 19.
The fight was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the negotiations on Thursday, with bout agreements issued for the March contest. ESPN.com first reported the match-up.
Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) was already slated for the UFC 128 card, but when Chael Sonnen was suspended by the promotion he was left without an opponent. Now with a new foe in place, Akiyama still faces the same dire consequences of the fight.
The former K-1 fighter is 1-2 with the UFC, and has not looked like the Top 10 competitor he was when he was signed by the promotion in 2009. Akiyama may be in a must-win situation as he faces Marquardt in March.
As for perennial middleweight contender Nate Marquardt (30-10-2), he enters the card at UFC 128 off a loss to Yushin Okami in November 2010.
The Colorado fighter has been razor close several times to getting back into a middleweight title fight but has slipped up on a couple of occasions. He will look to move closer to the top of the division once again when he faces Akiyama in March.