Diego Sanchez Out, Josh Koscheck To Face Matt Hughes At UFC 135A broken hand has forced Diego “The Dream” Sanchez out of his UFC 135 bout with former long-time champion Matt Hughes on September 24th in Denver, Colorado. Former title challenger Josh Koscheck has now stepped in to face Hughes. UFC President Dana White confirmed the change today.

Koscheck was initially expected to compete in a middleweight bout on an upcoming card, but will remain in the welterweight division to face Hughes in a battle of powerful wrestlers. Koscheck has not fought since December, when he dropped a Unanimous Decision to Georges “Rush” St. Pierre.

Koscheck (15-5-0) first faced off with St. Pierre at UFC 74 four years ago. He suffered a decision loss in the first meeting, but went on to win six of his next eight fights and totalled big victories over Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Paul “Semtex” Daley to earn a second shot at St. Pierre. However, Koscheck suffered an eye injury from a jab early on in the five-round title fight and he was unable to mount any meaningful offence against the champion. He contemplated a move up to 185 following his second loss to St. Pierre, but will remain at 170 for now.

Hughes (45-8-0) enjoyed a career resurgence from mid-2009 until late last year. After losing three of four fights – two against St. Pierre – Hughes looked to be on the verge of retirement, but he put together three straight wins over Matt “The Terror” Serra, Renzo Gracie and, perhaps most impressively, Ricardo “Big Dog” Almeida. His stay as a top contender in the division was short-lived, however, as Hughes was brutally knocked out by rival B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn in the pair’s trilogy bout in November. He has not competed since then.

The bout between Koscheck and Hughes represents an interesting matchup of styles, as both fighters possess excellent wrestling abilities. Koscheck has demonstrated knockout power in recent fights, but Hughes remains a legitimate threat on the ground and his submission of Almeida surprised many.

UFC 135 takes place on September 24th at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The event will be headlined by a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Jon “Bones” Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.


UFC 135 Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Jon “Bones” Jones vs Quinton “Rampage” Jackson [UFC Light Heavyweight Championship]
– Josh Koscheck vs Matt Hughes
– Travis “Hapa” Browne vs Rob “The Bear” Broughton
– Takanori “Fireball Kid” Gomi vs Nate Diaz
– Mark Hunt vs “Big” Ben Rothwell

– Aaron Riley vs Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson
– Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch vs Nick “The Promise” Ring

– James Te Huna vs Ricardo Romero
– Cole “The Triangle” Escovedo vs Takeya Mizugaki
– Junior Assuncao vs Eddie “The Filipino Phenom” Yagin



(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)