Yoshihiro Akiyama will not be arriving in Newark for UFC 128 as initially planned. But that’s OK, because Dan Miller is already in New Jersey.
Due to the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami that struck Japan on Friday, the Japanese middleweight, more commonly known by his nickname “Sexiyama,” has been forced out of his fight with Nate Marquardt at UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones.
Miller stepped up from his undercard fight with fellow N.J. native Nick Catone to take the pay-per-view battle with Marquardt. MMADieHards.com was the first to report the change, which was confirmed to the site by AMA Fight Club’s Mike Constantino, who manages and trains Miller. The UFC later made a statement to make the fight official.
“New Jersey native Dan Miller proves once again that he will fight anyone, anywhere, any time by agreeing to step up from the prelims to face Nate Marquardt,” UFC president Dana White said via statement. “Marquardt has long been a top-10 ranked middleweight and Miller jumped at the opportunity to face him.”
White Tweeted on Friday that Akiyama would be making the fight, but that changed after a matter of hours. White gave a general reason for Akiyama, saying that the fighter’s absence is due to the tragedy in Japan, but did not get more specific.
After tragedy struck Japan, millions lost power in homes. Businesses, including airports, have been shut down, and Saturday an unstable nuclear power plant in the northern region of the country significantly increased tension. Air travel into and out of the Tokyo area has seemingly been restored.
Miller, once considered a top-10 middleweight, is looking to claim his third straight victory inside the Octagon. Marquardt, however, hopes to derail those plans and bounce back from his unanimous decision loss to Yushin Okami back in November.
UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on March 19. Stay tuned to MMADiehards.com for more updates on the upcoming event.