Chinese UFC fighter Tiequan Zhang had been waiting for a new UFC 144 opponent for over close to two weeks, but he has one now. Zhang was originally scheduled to meet epic brawler Leonard Garcia on the card, but Garcia was forced out with an injury. It was widely expected that Nam Phan would fill the spot, and Phan even campaigned for the fight on twitter. Alas, it was not to be and Zhang will now face Shooto vet Issei Tamura (via UFC.com):
With Leonard Garcia sidelined due to injury, Japan's own Issei Tamura has agreed to step in and fight China's Tiequan Zhang on February 26 at UFC 144 in Tokyo. The 6-2 featherweight Tamura is a teammate of Kid Yamamoto, who is also fighting on the Saitama supercard.
It's rare that a guy gets his first UFC fight coming off a loss, but the Zuffa's hand was forced with the card coming up in under two weeks. Tamura has spent his entire career in Shooto, going 1-1 in 2011 with a knockout win over Sengoku vet Katsuya Toida in August and a decision loss to Guy Delumeau in November. Zhang lost in his last trip to the octagon, dropping a decision to Darren Elkins at UFC 136 in October.