Carlos Eduardo Rocha (left): Sandra Leidecker | Sherdog.com
Jake Ellenberger will likely square off against undefeated Carlos Eduardo Rocha on Feb. 5 at UFC 126 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Originally scheduled to face top-10 welterweight Jon Fitch at the event, Ellenberger was left without an opponent when Fitch was plucked from the matchup in favor of a UFC 127 scrap against pound-for-pound great B.J. Penn. The news was first reported by MMAJunkie on Tuesday afternoon.
Ellenberger has won six of his last seven fights and is coming off back-to-back victories inside the Octagon. After dropping his UFC debut via split decision to welterweight contender Carlos Condit, the Nebraskan rattled off consecutive TKO's over Mike Pyle and John Howard, respectively. Well-traveled as a professional, the 25-year-old is a veteran of Bellator and the now-defunct International Fight League. He holds notable victories over Pat Healy and Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons and has finished 15 of his 23 victims by knockout.
Stepping up to fill Fitch's void will be Rocha, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner who holds eight of his nine career victories by submission. The Brazilian is fresh off an impressive UFC debut, wherein he finished “TUF 11” finalist Kris McCray with a slick kneebar. The welterweight prospect holds his only non-submission victory by knockout and has never allowed a fight to see the judges' scorecards.
UFC 126 will reportedly be headlined by a middleweight title clash between longtime champion Anderson Silva and the resurgent Vitor Belfort. The card will also feature two pivotal light heavyweight contests, as former champions Rich Franklin and Forest Griffin toe the line while prospects Jon Jones and Ryan Bader lock horns. Rounding out the card will be a bantamweight tilt with title implications as former WEC king Miguel Torres takes on Antonio Banuelos.