With James Irvin on the shelf due to a torn meniscus he suffered during training, UFC officials were forced to find a replacement to fight Drew McFedries at UFC 98 on May 23.
According to a report from the U.K. based “Fighters Only Magazine”, the UFC has decided that Irvin’s replacement will be none other than French-born fighter Xavier “Professor X” Foupa-Pokam.
Foupa-Pokam, 20-10, recently made his long awaited UFC debut at UFC 97 on April 18 in a losing effort to highly ranked middleweight Denis Kang.
The Cage Rage and Palace Fighting Championship veteran is looking to get back on the winning track. He was on a 7-fight win streak which included wins over Kyacey Uscola, Andrey Rudakov, among others. Before dropping a decision-loss to Kang at UFC 97, it had been over 16 months since Foupa-Pokam was on the losing side of a fight. Murilo “Ninja” Rua was able to submit “Professor X” with a rear naked choke back at Cage Rage 24 in December of 2007.
The fight between Foupa-Pokam and McFedries could very well be considered a “loser leaves UFC” fight. If McFedries is unable to secure a victory it would mark his third straight loss in the UFC and with the company looking to cut people who they don’t feel are “title contenders”, the loser of this fight could very well be shown the door.
UFC 98 is scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show will be headlined by Rashad Evans defending his UFC light heavyweight title against Lyoto Machida. In addition to Evans vs. Machida, the televised card will feature Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra, Dan Miller vs. Yushin Okami and Frank Edgar vs. Sean Sherk.
Irvin vs. McFedries was originally scheduled to appear on the televised portion of the show, however since the UFC has yet to confirm Foupa-Pokam’s appearance it is currently unknown which fight will now be shown on the pay-per-view.