The ill-fated UFC 96 welterweight bout featuring Dustin "McLovin" Hazelett and Ben "Killa B" Saunders first suffered a setback when Hazelett dropped out due to injury, and was replaced by UFC newcomer and kickboxer extraordinaire Ryan "The Lion" Madigan. Now, MMA Weekly has word that Saunders has suffered an injury as well and will be replaced by Tamdan "the Barn Cat" McCrory:
Another change has been made for UFC's return to Columbus, Ohio, as Ben Saunders has been forced off the card with a foot injury. Tamdan McCrory has been tapped as a replacement to step in and face newcomer Ryan Madigan at UFC 96, as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com on Monday by sources close to the situation.
McCrory was initially scheduled to compete the next month at UFC 97 against Jonathan Goulet, but Goulet suffered an injury leaving McCrory to join this full-fledged battle of the replacements in Columbus. The whole situation is reminiscent of the UFC 85 debacle, where Chuck Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua were scheduled to headline, only to have Shogun first pull out with an injury and be replaced by Rashad Evans, after which Liddell pulled out with an injury and was replaced by James Irvin, who suffered yet another injury causing the entire fight to be scrapped.
Fortunately, this bout wasn't scheduled to be anything close to a main event, so the changes aren't as impactful, although many were looking forward to seeing Hazelett and Saunders compete again.
McCrory (10-2, 2-2 UFC) has showed promise in his young UFC career, but has followed each recent win with a loss, with his most recent being a submission loss to Dustin Hazelett (it's a small world isn't it?) at UFC 91. The Central New York-based jiu-jitsu specialist will look to rebound and set himself on the winning track again in Columbus on March 7th.
UFC newcomer Ryan Madigan is a former pro kickboxer and participant in the World Combat League, who's made a successful transition to MMA, complete with two recent Triangle Choke submission victories to complement his now-perfect 5-0 record.