The lineup for UFC 158 took a hit this week when it was revealed 170-pounder Rory MacDonald had been pulled from his co-headlining bout with rival Carlos Condit after suffering an injury in training. While the loss of the talented 23-year old is certainly a negative, the welterweight-heavy card was able to provide a more than suitable replacement for MacDonald in the form of Johny Hendricks.
As a result, Hendricks’ original opponent – Jake Ellenberger – is now in need of a match-up at the March 16 event.
UFC officials have confirmed the change with MMAFighting reporting MacDonald suffered a severe neck/back strain, labeling his condition as being “in a great deal of pain” with “very limited range of motion in his neck.” He is expected to need a month off before hitting the gym again at full speed.
Condit commented on the situation through a press release to media, stating, “While I was disappointed to hear that Rory MacDonald is injured, I am glad that the UFC was able to find a strong replacement for the fight in Johny Hendricks. He is one of the toughest welterweights in the world, and has quickly risen up the ladder in our division. We are similar in that we like to stay active and aggressive in our fights, so this should be a great fight for the fans to watch.”
“He’s called me out in the past, and now is his chance to try to back that talk up. I’ll be ready for him,” he concluded.
Hendricks holds an overall record of 14-1 with wins in his last five fights. Though a decorated amateur wrestler, the bearded brawler’s reputation is one of scoring knockouts including those over Amir Sadollah, Jon Fitch, and Martin Kampmann. Comparably, Condit is 28-6 with 26 stoppages and past success against the likes of Ellenberger, MacDonald, and Nick Diaz.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC