Featherweight Mackens Semerzier, who was initially slated to face Mike Lullo, and welterweight DaMarques Johnson, who was paired with Clay Harvison, have dropped off the card with injuries. MMAWeekly reports that Seth Baczynski will fill in for Johnson while a replacement for Semerzier is yet to be named. Baczynski, a member of Arizona's Power MMA Team alongside Ryan Bader and C.B. Dollaway, lost to Brad Tavares at the TUF 11 Finale but has notched two wins since. This will be Baczynski's first stint at welterweight in the UFC.
This could end up being a crippling blow to the UFC's return to New Orleans, which was not a card brimming with big names to begin with. Jake Shields, set to headline the event in a pivotal welterweight clash with Jake Ellenberger, is undergoing some personal and professional turmoil. Jake's father and manager just passed away on Monday.
There is no word on whether Shields will withdraw due to the unfortunate loss, but it's certainly an understandable possibility. This leaves the main event in jeopardy and the UFC scrambling for one more replacement with less than three weeks until showtime.
The event will feature two top dogs from The Ultimate Fighter: Court McGee, the middleweight who won season eleven, takes on Korean Top Team brawler Dongi Yang, and twelfth season lightweight winner Jonathan Brookins will drop back down to 145-pounds against Roufusport striker Erik Koch. Also anchoring the main card is the highly anticipated return of middleweight Alan Belcher, who has been sidelined with an eye injury since defeating Patrick Cote at UFC 113 in May of 2010. Belcher draws Canadian submission specialist Jason MacDonald.
Full, updated fight card:
Seth Baczynski vs Clay Harvison