Ex-Strikeforce Champ Nate Marquardt to Face Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158


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Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt will take on Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158.

UFC officials announced the news Tuesday morning via Twitter. UFC 158 takes place March 16 at the Bell Centre in Montreal and is headlined by a welterweight title bout between champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Nick Diaz.

Ellenberger was initially expected to face Johny Hendricks at the event, but an injury to Rory MacDonald allowed Hendricks to secure a pairing with Carlos Condit in the evening’s co-main event.

Marquardt will step into the Octagon for the first time since March 2011, when he outpointed Dan Miller at UFC 128. A former testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) patient, “Nate the Great” received his UFC release after producing elevated testosterone levels ahead of a planned clash with Rick Story. One year later, the 33-year-old made his Strikeforce debut against Tyron Woodley and captured the vacant welterweight title with a ferocious flurry of elbows and punches. Most recently, Marquardt relinquished his belt to Tarec Saffiedine, falling via unanimous decision at Strikeforce’s final show on Jan. 12.

Ellenberger has won seven of his last eight fights heading into his showdown with Marquardt. “The Juggernaut” competed twice last year, beginning 2012 with a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez before sustaining a second-round technical knockout at the hands of Martin Kampmann. The 27-year-old was last seen on Oct. 5, when he avenged his 2006 defeat to Jay Hieron by taking a unanimous verdict from “The Thoroughbred” at UFC on FX 5.

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