Condit vs Hendricks, Ellenberger vs Marquardt Set For UFC 158A neck injury has forced welterweight rising star Rory “Ares” MacDonald out of his planned rematch with “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit at UFC 158: “St. Pierre vs Diaz” on March 16th in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Condit will now battle hard-hitting contender Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks.

With Hendricks moved into the fight with Condit, his original opponent on the card, Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger, now welcomes former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nate “The Great” Marquardt back to the UFC. Both 170-pound fights were first reported by on Monday.

Condit (28-6-0) captured the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship one year ago by defeating Nick Diaz, but his five-fight winning streak came to an end when he dropped a Unanimous Decision to the returning Georges “Rush” St. Pierre in a November title unification bout. Condit then agreed to face MacDonald in a rematch from their first encounter in June 2010, which Condit won via third-round TKO after MacDonald dominated much of the fight. With MacDonald injured, Condit now faces one of the welterweight division’s most powerful strikers as he looks to get back in the title picture next month.

Hendricks (14-1-0) has long been regarded as one of the top wrestlers in the 170-pound division, but it has been the Oklahoma native’s devastating knockout power that has put him on the map as a top title contender in recent fights. Hendricks is currently riding a five-fight winning streak that includes victories over former title challengers Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck. The knockout win over Fitch took just 12 seconds. Most recently, Hendricks knocked out veteran contender Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann in 46 seconds at UFC 154. A victory over Condit would likely earn Hendricks a title shot later this year.


Ellenberger (28-6-0) found himself on the cusp of title contention this past year before an untimely loss to Kampmann put his championship aspirations on hold. He rebounded with a Unanimous Decision victory over Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron in October and has posted wins in seven of his past eight fights. Marquardt (32-11-2), meanwhile, returns to the Octagon for the first time since he was abruptly released from the UFC in June 2011. He has fought just twice since and captured the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship by defeating Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley in July before losing the title to Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine this past month. He now steps into the fight with Ellenberger on short notice.

UFC 158: “St. Pierre vs Diaz” takes place on March 16th at Bell Centre in Montréal, Québec, Canada. The event is headlined by a UFC Welterweight Championship bout between Georges “Rush” St. Pierre and challenger Nick Diaz.



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