Manny Gamburyan (top) is out of UFC 128. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
One-time World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight title contender Manny Gamburyan has suffered a back injury and has withdrawn from his March 19 bout with Raphael Assuncao at UFC 128.
Sherdog.com confirmed the injury with a source close to the fighter after MMAFighting.com initially reported the news early Friday morning. It is unknown if the UFC is seeking a replacement for the Armenian judoka.
UFC 128 will emanate from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and will be headlined by a light heavyweight title bout between reigning champion Mauricio Rua and Jon Jones. Also scheduled for the card is a pivotal bantamweight scrap showcasing former WEC champions Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland.
Stocky and powerful, Gamburyan is a pupil of submission master Gokor Chivichyan. “The Anvil” originally competed at lightweight in the UFC, fighting his way to the finals of “The Ultimate Fighter 5” before injuring himself in the championship match with Nate Diaz. Following back-to-back losses in August 2008 and January 2009, Gamburyan debuted at 145 pounds in the quainter cage of the WEC, earning a unanimous decision over John Franchi at WEC 41.
The 29-year-old would harness that momentum into two more victories over hard-hitting Leonard Garcia and former champion Mike Thomas Brown, respectively. Most recently, Gamburyan squared off with dominant champion Jose Aldo in September, his title bid ended by a second-round TKO at WEC 51.
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