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Siyar Bahadarzada in for Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Thiago Alves at UFC 149

Thiago Alves (Josh Hedges/UFC)

Welterweights booked for July 21 card in Calgary

An injury has knocked Yoshihiro Akiyama out of his UFC 149 fight against Thiago Alves, and a recent Knockout of the Night-winning newcomer will jump right in for another stiff test.

Siyar Bahadarzada will fill in for Akiyama against Alves on the July card. UFC officials recently announced the switch for the pay-per-view, which takes place July 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

UFC 149 will be the promotion’s first visit to Calgary, Canada’s third largest city. The event will be headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and top contender Erik Koch. Tickets for the card go on sale to the general public on Saturday.

Bahadarzada (21-4-1, 1-0 UFC) made his UFC debut last month at UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva in Stockholm, Sweden. And it was an impressive showing. The native of Afghanistan threw three punches against Paulo Thiago, but those three were enough to get him a 42-second Knockout of the Night victory. That victory ran his winning streak to seven fights, six of which have come by knockout.

Alves (19-9, 11-6 UFC) is coming off a devastating loss to Martin Kampmann in the main event of UFC on FX 2 in March in Sydney, Australia. Alves dominated Kampmann for more than two rounds. But late in the third, he shot for a takedown – right into a Kampmann guillotine choke. Alves was forced to tap with just 48 seconds left in the fight.

That loss gave him four setbacks in his last six bouts, and three of five since losing a unanimous decision to Georges St-Pierre in a welterweight title fight at UFC 100 in July 2009. His wins since then have come against Papy Abedi at UFC 138 last fall, and John Howard at UFC 124. But he has unanimous decision losses to Jon Fitch and Rick Story. His UFC job might not be on the line with a loss to Bahadarzada, but dropping five of seven would be a crucial blow to his standing in the 170-pound weight class.

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