Brandon Thatch Steps Up To Meet Gunnar Nelson At UFC 189

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Is UFC 189, the event being deemed the biggest of the year, headlined by a blockbuster featherweight title showdown between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor too good to be true? It seems so as the injury bug has struck the card drastically.

News broke yesterday (June 23, 2015) that Aldo suffered a fractured rib in training, putting his bout with McGregor in jeopardy. No word on a decision from Aldo has been made yet. Also, main card competitor John Hathaway was forced out his scheduled bout with Gunnar Nelson due to an undisclosed injury, news that has been overshadowed by Aldo’s injury.

However, it seems as if that latter has been solved, as Nelson now has a new opponent for the July 11, 2015 card. MMAJunkie has confirmed that Brandon “Rukus” Thatch, who was scheduled to meet John Howard on the prelims, has stepped up to face off with Nelson.

Thatch made waves when he won 12 of his first 13 bouts by way of first round stoppage, including his first two UFC bouts. However, he suffered a setback last February when he was submitted by former lightweight champion Benson Henderson. “Rukus” will look to bounce back and make a statement against No. 15-ranked Nelson.

So what happens to Howard now? Well, it seems as if the Irish invasion has continued as McGregor and Nelson’s teammate Cathal Pendred will make a quick turnaround to face off with Howard. Pendred actually just fought at UFC 188 (June 13, 2015) scoring a decision win over Augusto Montano, although he mentioned that he was disappointed in his performance. He will now get the chance to redeem himself in a few weeks.

Check out the full UFC 189 fight card below:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor – for featherweight title (as of now)
  • Champ Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald – for welterweight title
  • Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch
  • Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Matt Brown vs. Tim Means
  • John Howard vs. Cathal Pendred
  • Alex Garcia vs. Mike Swick
  • Henry Briones vs. Cody Garbrandt

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m. ET)

  • Neil Seery vs. Louis Smolka
  • Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Cody Pfister
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