While the fact that Jose Aldo might be out of his fight with Conor McGregor has been getting all the attention, UFC 189 has had further upheaval in the last 24 hours after John Hathaway picked up an injury that forced him out of his main card with Gunnar Nelson.
With two and a half weeks to go until fight night, Nelson now has a late replacement opponent in the shape of Brandon Thatch.
Thatch was last seen competing against Ben Henderson at UFC Fight Night 60 back in February, losing out to the former lightweight champion by a fourth round rear-naked choke.
Prior to that the talented striker had picked up back-to-back wins in the UFC and was on a ten fight winning streak overall.
The 29 year-old had originally been scheduled to fight John Howard at UFC 189, so simply moving up the bill to fight Nelson means he’s still have a full training camp, though he could well now be starting from scratch in terms of his gameplan.
Nelson is also coming off a loss, losing out by split decision to Rick Story in October of last year – the first time the Icelandic fighter has tasted defeat in his 15 fight career.
Due to the switch up, John Howard is also now in need of a new opponent for UFC 189, and so the UFC have drafted in Cathal Pendred to fill in for Thatch.
Pendred only just fought a week and a half ago, claiming a unanimous decision victory over Augusto Montano at UFC 188. It wasn’t an impressive performance by the Irishman though by any stretch of the imagination as he himself was quick to acknowledge, and so he may be looking at this as an opportunity to prove that he’s capable of better than that.
It’s a big risk though as Howard is the most experienced fighter he’s faced to date, though the UFC veteran has had a bad run in the Octagon of late and heads into this bout without a win in his last three fights.