UFC 189 underwent a bit of shuffle on Tuesday. Although it’s not the line-up change that has everyone all shook up, several welterweight changes commenced.
While everyone was focused on the reports that Jose Aldo suffered a broken rib and might have to withdraw from his UFC 189 main event bout with Conor McGregor, UFC officials announced that Gunnar Nelson got a new opponent.
Nelson’s original opponent, John Hathaway, had to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury, so Brandon Thatch was pulled from the prelims to fight the Icelander on pay-per-view. John Howard, Thatch’s original opponent, will now face Irishman Cathal Pendred.
Nelson (13-1-1) hasn’t fought since losing the first bout of his career, to Rick Story in a UFC Fight Night headlining bout in Sweden last October. He desperately wanted to remain on the card and try to get some momentum back, so after Hathaway fell out, UFC officials moved swiftly to recruit Thatch from the FOX Sports 1 prelims.
Thatch (11-2), meanwhile, is also looking to get back on the winning track after Benson Henderson put an end to his 10-fight winning streak in their headlining bout in February.
The UFC didn’t leave Howard (22-11) stranded. Trying to bounce back from three consecutive losses, the welterweight will now meet McGregor’s teammate, Pendred (17-2-1), who hasn’t lost in 12 fights and is fresh off of a win over Augusto Montano at UFC 188 in Mexico City just nine days ago.
With that sorted out, at the time of publication, we were still awaiting word from the UFC on the status of Aldo, and whether or not he would be able to fight at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas.
MMAWeekly.com will keep you up to date and we receive further information on the situation.
(Photo courtesy of UFC)