UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger has confirmed that a hamstring injury will keep him sidelined for several weeks.
Ellenberger (29-7 MMA, 8-3 UFC) was set to face former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine (14-3 MMA) at UFC Fight Night 34, the promotion’s first ever show in Singapore, on January 4, 2014. Friday, the 28-year-old told Fox Sports that he was forced to withdraw from the fight.
“Yeah, it’s been a rough week. It was a hamstring injury, just one of those things,” Ellenberger said. “I’ve never pulled out of a fight before, usually I’m the one taking fights on short notice, but this was one of those times where I just had to do it.”
Doctors said Ellenberger is expected to be sidelined for about six to eight weeks, but the Omaha native hasn’t suffered any long-term damage and will not have to undergo surgery. Hyun Gyu Lim (12-3-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) will replace Ellenberger in the main event, which will mark Saffiedine’s UFC debut. The 27-year-old Belgian was expected to face Robbie Lawler at UFC on Fox 8 in July, but was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
Jake Ellenberger last fought Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Moraga on July 27. MacDonald won the match by unanimous decision, and UFC president Dana White criticized Ellenberger for his lackluster performance.
“That fight sucked so bad,” White said after the match. “It’s a fight that, this had so much heat on it and it was a very important fight.”
“Ellenberger did nothing and he told you that you don’t belong in the top 10. He went out and bullied B.J., so you know he could. He didn’t fight that way with Ellenberger. Don’t come in and say my fight was great, it was tactical and this and that…. I don’t think he performed, I don’t think he did anything.”
Jake Ellenberger isn’t the only fighter who has been forced to withdraw from UFC Fight Night 34. Featherweight Hacran Dias (21-2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who was set to face newcomer Tatsuya Kawajiri (32-7-2) in the co-main event, has also been injured. The promotion has yet to announce a new opponent for Kawajiri.