Marcin Held will still get the chance to compete in front of his native Polish crowd.
Held was originally scheduled to face Finland’s Teemu Packalen in a lightweight affair at UFC Fight Night 118 but last week, the Finn announced that he had sustained a knee injury that would both force him out of the fight and onto the surgeon’s table. Tuesday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Held would still fight on the card and will now face Octagon debutant Nasrat Haqparast.
UFC Fight Night 118 is scheduled for Oct. 21 at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, headlined by a welterweight clash between “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone and Darren Till. The card, the promotions second-ever card in Poland, airs in its entirety on UFC Fight Pass.
Held, 25, was a Bellator MMA mainstay from March 2011 to May 2016, posting an 11-3 record in the promotion. Since signing with the UFC however, the leglock specialist has had the toughest competitive skid of his pro career, going 0-3 in the Octagon. Held lost contentious decisions to veterans Diego Sanchez and Joe Lauzon before he was knocked flat by Damir Hadzovic’s hail mary knee this past May.
The 22-year-old Haqparast, a native Afghani, has spent his entire five-year pro career fighting in Germany. Now fighting out of Kings MMA under Rafael Cordeiro, Haqparast has won eight in a row, knocking out all of his opponents in the process. In May, he had the longest fight of his pro career, needing just under 12 minutes to polish off Ruslan Kalyniuk,.