Strikeforce veteran Bobby Voelker will make his Octagon debut on March 16, facing Patrick Cote in a UFC 158 welterweight attraction.
Cote had initially been scheduled to rematch Alessio Sakara at the event, but “Legionarius” was forced to withdraw due to injury. As a result, “The Predator” will make the cut to 170 pounds for the first time in his career against Voelker. UFC 158 takes place at the Bell Centre in Montreal and is headlined by a welterweight title collision between longtime champion Georges St. Pierre and former Strikeforce ruler Nick Diaz.
A winner of three straight fights, Voelker recently capped his trilogy with Roger Bowling by posting a pair of second-round technical knockout victories over the Ohioan, the last of which came in July 2011. Voelker, 33, has not fought since. The five-time Strikeforce vet has competed professionally 32 times in over six years as a pro, stopping 15 of his 24 victims by form of knockout along the way.
Cote, 32, began his career as a light heavyweight before making the move to 185 pounds in 2005, eventually challenging Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title in 2008. Following his defeat to “The Spider,” Cote returned to the Octagon in 2010 after a lengthy injury layoff. Back-to-back losses would then signal Cote’s UFC release, but the native Quebecer was called back to the organization earlier this year, as “The Predator” was outpointed by ex-Strikeforce king Cung Le at UFC 148. Cote most recently fought Sakara last month at UFC 154, winning by disqualification after the Italian landed a series of illegal blows to the back of his head.