Ultimate Fighter Season 5 finalist Manny Gamburyan’s return to the Octagon has been put on hold due to a back injury he suffered while training for his UFC 128 bout with highly-touted BJJer Raphal Assuncao. As a result he will no longer be able to compete on March 19 at the event.
News of the withdrawal was broken by MMAFighting where it was also stated the UFC is actively seeking a replacement for the 11-5 Gamburyan but hadn’t yet signed an opponent for Assuncao.
The match-up would have marked Gamburyan’s first fight in the UFC since January 2009 after going 2-3 in the promotion and deciding to drop down to featherweight. The 29-year old Armenian compiled a 3-1 record in WEC including wins over Leonard Garcia and former 145-pound champ Mike Brown. He has been out of action since a September TKO loss to current title-holder, and now UFC champ, Jose Aldo.
Gamburyan’s expected date with Assuncao would have been part of a stacked preliminary card as UFC 128 is set to feature a number of exciting undercard bouts including Luis Cane vs. Eliot Marshall, Dan Miller vs. Nick Catone, Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau, and Mike Pyle vs. Ricardo Almeida.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC