Greg Jackson-trained fighter debuts Saturday
The UFC 143 preliminary card has seen a fight week change, and a newcomer will make his Octagon debut on Saturday.
Jorge Lopez, a Wanderlei Silva-trained fighter, has been forced out of his fight against Matthew Riddle. Stepping in for him will be Henry Martinez, a Greg Jackson-trained fighter who will fight for the first time in the UFC on just about a week’s notice. The UFC recently announced the lineup change.
Martinez (8-1) has won four straight fights, all finishes. His first and only loss came on Bellator’s second show, a unanimous decision setback against Wilson Reis in a featherweight bout. Now at lightweight, Martinez gets a chance to make a quick impression on MMA’s biggest stage.
Riddle (5-3, 5-3 UFC), a Season 7 alum of “The Ultimate Fighter,” has had all his professional fights in the UFC – a rarity. But he has lost two straight with unanimous decision setbacks against Sean Pierson at UFC 124 in December 2010 and a Fight of the Night loss to Lance Benoist in New Orleans in September.
Riddle was scheduled to fight at UFC 141 just last month in Las Vegas against Luis Ramos. But hours before the fight, he became ill and was not allowed to fight.
Lopez was looking to rebound from the second loss of his career, a unanimous decision against Justin Edwards at UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans in September. Before that, he had a 10-fight winning streak.
UFC 143 features an interim welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. The pay-per-view takes place Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The Riddle-Martinez fight will air on the live preliminary card broadcast on FX, which starts at 8 p.m. Eastern preceding the pay-per-view at 10 p.m.