UFC announced Monday night that Diego Sanchez has been forced to pull out of his fight against Thiago "Pitbull" Alves at UFC 90 on Oct. 25 due to torn rib cartilage. Replacing Sanchez in the fight will be none other than "The Nightmare's" arch rival, Josh Koscheck.
The official word from the UFC press release:
Las Vegas NV (USA) – Welterweight contender Diego Sanchez has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 90 bout against Thiago Alves due to torn rib cartilage, but the October 25th co-feature bout is not lost, as standout 170-pounder Josh Koscheck has stepped up to face Brazil’s “Pitbull” in an equally intriguing welterweight matchup.
“There is nothing worse than having a great fight and then having one of the fighters drop out at the last second,” said UFC President Dana White. “But the one thing the UFC has proven time and time again is our ability to replace fights with ones as good as or better than the original fight, and we’ve done it again with the highly-ranked Josh Koscheck stepping up to replace Diego Sanchez against welterweight wrecking machine Thiago Alves. Hats off to Josh and Thiago, as not many fighters would agree to a matchup this tough on such short notice.”
Koscheck is a more than suitable replacement, especially on less than two weeks notice. Sanchez vs. Alves was a very intriguing bout, and a chance for Sanchez to climb back to where he was before a loss to Koscheck last year set him back in the welterweight pecking order. Sanchez has to be very disappointed to lose this opportunity, and it probably stings a bit more that Koscheck is stealing his thunder one more time.
Koscheck is a very tough test for Alves, who most recently defeated Matt Hughes at UFC 85 in June. On paper, it's easy to call this a classic grappler vs. striker contest, but Koscheck's striking is somewhat underrated. He's a lot more well-rounded than he gets credit for.