Yoshihiro Akiyama has suffered an injury and will be unable to compete as expected at UFC 149. Answering the call in his stead will be Siyar Bahadurzada, who now faces fellow heavy hitter Thiago Alves at the July 21 event.
UFC officials recently announced the welterweight swap on the promotion’s website. UFC 149 takes place at the Scotiabank Saddledome and marks the organization’s first trip to Calgary, Alberta. The event is expected to air live on pay-per-view and will be headlined by Jose Aldo’s featherweight title defense against Erik Koch.
Bahadurzada recently made his Octagon debut on April 14, finishing Paulo Thiago with a devastating right hand in just 42 seconds to earn “Knockout of the Night” honors at UFC on Fuel TV 2. The performance marked the seventh consecutive win for the 28-year-old Afghanistan native, who holds over half of his career victories by knockout.
Alves, meanwhile, has struggled to find consistency in recent days. The American Top Team representative won seven straight bouts to earn a title shot in 2009, falling to champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100. Since that defeat, “Pitbull” has lost three of five, most recently submitting to a Martin Kampmann guillotine choke on March 3 in the UFC on FX 2 headliner.