Another Gunnar Nelson Opponent Backs Out, Cummings Steps in for LaFlare

Scott HarrisMMA Lead WriterMay 28, 2014

Zak Cummings (pictured) will now face Gunnar Nelson in July
Zak Cummings (pictured) will now face Gunnar Nelson in JulyUSA TODAY Sports

Either no one wants to fight Gunnar Nelson, or he's the cage-fighting equivalent of a black cat in the road.

On Wednesday, streaking welterweight Ryan LaFlare became the fifth opponent in less than two years to call off an engagement with the Icelandic submissions ace. LaFlare cited a knee injury, according to a report from Newsday, as his reason for the withdraw. Zak Cummings replaces LaFlare in the bout, which happens July 19 at UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin, Ireland.

The UFC's official United Kingdom was the first to announce the news:

Ryan LaFlare is out of #UFCDublin. Gunnar Nelson will now face Zak Cummings. Tickets on general sale June 6th.

— UFC United Kingdom (@UFC_UK) May 28, 2014

A grappling prodigy, Nelson (12-0-1) has torn through all three of his opponents since signing with the UFC in July 2012, winning once by decision and twice by the tap. However, opponent withdraws and Nelson's own injury woes have kept fans from seeing as much of the now-25-year-old prospect as they might like.

German Pascal Krauss was set to welcome Nelson to the UFC in September 2012 but pulled out because of an injury. Rich Attonito was originally named as the replacement but quickly backed out (and was subsequently released from the UFC). Nelson went on to choke out Marques Johnson in his Octagon debut.

Last January, Justin Edwards had to drop out of a date with Nelson due to injury and was replaced by Jorge Santiago, who lost to Nelson by decision.

Nelson was set to fight again last spring but was forced out of UFC 160 with a knee injury. He remained on the shelf for more than a year, eventually returning this January and defeating Omari Akhmedov.

The bout is a big opportunity and a tall order for Cummings, who will have just a little more than two months between this fight and his previous one, a nice decision win over Yan Cabral UFC Fight Night 40.