Heavyweight Mark Burch has pulled out of UFC 92: “The Ultimate 2008″ for undisclosed reasons. Burch had been set to face kickboxing Antoni Hardonk at the December 27 event.
Signed to replace Burch on the show is 8-1 heavyweight prospect Mike “The Juggernaut” Wessel.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com first learned of the news after being alerted to an event listing on UFC.com and since has confirmed it through a text message to UFC fighter Rolando Delgado, Wessel’s trainer at the Westside Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“We’ve got a heavyweight coming out of Little Rock that’s huge,” Delgado began to tell FiveOuncesOfPain.com during an October interview. “The guy is a former strength and conditioning coach and weighs 250 pounds. The guy is an athletic machine and he’s 16-1 now. He’s 8-1 as a pro and about to bust out onto the scene. He has his first pro boxing match next week, actually. The guy is very talented and his name is Mike Wessel. He’s going to be huge.”
He is a former strength and conditioning coach for the University of Arkansas and a former professional football player. Wessel is also a veteran of the Art of War and Extreme Fighting League promotions, the heavy hitter is currently on a seven fight win streak with his most recent win being a first round submission victory over Aaron Winterie. The victory avenged a previous loss to Winterie, the only one on his record.
According to InsideFighting.com, Wessel said he met a UFC matchmaker this past weekend while in Las Vegas to corner Delgado at the live finale for the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Soon after he was informed by his manager, Matt Hamilton, that he should get his medical records in order in anticipation of a possible fight.
UFC 92 is scheduled to emanate from the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas and will feature Forrest Griffin defending his UFC light heavyweight title vs. Rashad Evans as well as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defending his interim UFC heavyweight title vs. Frank Mir. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is also scheduled to face off with Wanderlei Silva.
Additional matchups for the card include C.B. Dollaway vs. Mike Massenzio, Cheick Kongo vs. Mustapha Al-Turk, Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister, Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy, Ryo Chonan vs. Brad Blackburn, and Dan Evensen squaring off with the debuting Pat Barry.