Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

Rory Macdonald is pulling out of UFC 158 due to an injured neck and back. Stepping in to fill the void is a fighter who is arguably just as talented as the men who will be competing in what is being billed as a welterweight tournament of sorts on March 16 in the Bell Centre in Montreal at UFC 158.

Yet even though Nate Marquardt will be replacing Macdonald, it won’t be against Johny Hendricks. When these things happen, the UFC is known for pitting together fighters who are considered at equal places in their respective divisions.

In this case, Hendricks will now face Carlos Condit and Ellenberger will be pitted against Marquardt. The main event in GSP vs. Nick Diaz won’t change of course, but if anything should happen to Diaz, I bet the welterweights will shift once again.

All three of the welterweight fights will still hold significant weight or even more so at this point, especially now with Hendricks facing Condit. It appears the UFC has decided to place the two top contenders in the welterweight division against each other.

This will be considered a title eliminator for whoever is the champ at the end of the night. Both fighters are durable scrappers with penchants for finishing fights. This will be an easy fight to hype, and more importantly, a breath of fresh air for those who were unhappy about the irony of Diaz being chosen for a title shot, when more than one clear contender already existed in the division.

Ellenberger will be facing a lower ranked fighter in Marquardt, but no less dangerous. If anything, Marquardt has proven he is capable of beating the best but also lose to subpar competition at times.

It’s safe to say that neither of his losses against Chael Sonnen or Tarec Saffiedine were considered possible by the majority of the MMA community, especially his latest loss against Saffiedine where he lost his Strikeforce title.

Yet no one can fault Marquardt’s dominance among the middleweights, and the possibility of regaining momentum among the UFC’s stacked welterweights. Thanks to Marquardt jumping in to the mix, the UFC 158 card will remain top heavy, and avoid being reuined by the injury bug. Well at least for the moment.

 It’s hard not to hear Marquardt’s story in the video below, and not like the guy.