PRO MMA (promma.info) has learned from multiple sources that Houston “The Assassin” Alexander (8-4) has pulled out of his UFC 98 bout with Andre Gusmao (5-1) due to a broken hand suffered in training.
Alexander joins three other fighters, James Irvin, Josh Koshcheck and Yushin Okami, who have also pulled out of the card due to injury. Gusmao is still on the card and Krztsztof Soszynski has been confirmed as the replacement for Alexander.
Alexander was in dire need of a win after losing three straight fights to James Irvin, Thiago Silva and Eric Schafer. Alexander shocked everyone by knocking out top ten fighter Keith Jardine in the first round of his Octagon debut at UFC 71. He followed that up with another first round destruction of Alessio Sakara at UFC 75.
Big things were expected after his two devastating wins, but in his third UFC fight he was TKO’d by Thiago Silva. That was the start of the losing streak where he was decimated by Irvin in eight seconds and easily submitted by Schafer in his last fight.
Now, with the injury, his chance at the win he so desperately needs will have to wait until he heals up and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva provides him with another opportunity to fight.
Even though the injury bug has hit UFC 98 pretty hard, it is still a very stacked card and Joe Silva has done an excellent job finding replacements on relatively short notice.
James Irvin was slated to fight Drew Mcfedries (7-5), but after injuring his knee, Irving has been replaced by Xavier Foupa-Pokam (20-10), who is coming off a loss in his UFC debut to Dennis Kang at UFC 97.
Josh Koscheck, who was to meet Chris Wilson (14-5), is replaced by Brock Larson (25-2), who has won 13 out 14 fights.
Yushin Okami, who is considered by many as the number one UFC middleweight contender, was slated to take on Dan Miller (11-1) and will have former WEC middleweight champion Chael Sonnen (21-10-1) take his place.
Also on the card will be a grudge match between former welterweight champions Matt Hughes (42-7) and Matt Serra (9-5) in a long awaited fight. The UFC 98 main event will feature two unbeaten fighters as UFC light heavyweight champion “Sugar” Rashad Evans (13-0-1) takes on challenger Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (14-0) for the title.
UFC 98 full lineup
Main card bouts:
Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida (LHW)
Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra (WW)
Dan Miller vs. Chael Sonnen (MW)
Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar (LW)
Drew Mcfedries vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam (MW)
Brock Larson vs. Chris Wilson (WW)
Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Brandon Wolff (WW)
Tim Hague vs. Pat Barry (HW)
Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley (LW)
Andre Gusmao vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (LHW)
George Roop vs. David Kaplan (LW)
UFC 98 will take place on May 23rd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card bouts can be seen on pay-per-view for $44.95.