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Pablo Garza Replaces Jason Reinhardt, Will Face Tiequan Zhang at WEC 51

Jason Reinhardt is out of his fight against prized WEC signee Tiequan Zhang and will be replaced by Pablo Garza on Thursday's WEC 51 card.

The WEC made the announcement via Twitter on Monday morning, and MMA Fighting has confirmed with sources close to Reinhardt that a failed eye exam will keep him from making his WEC debut.

Garza (7-0), Reinhardt's replacement, was one of 28 contestants vying for a spot in the house on the current Season 12 of "The Ultimate Fighter." But he lost his preliminary fight to Michael Johnson, who went on to become coach Georges St-Pierre's top pick in the team selection, which aired last week.


This will be the third opponent for Zhang (16-0). As MMA Fighting was first to report three weeks ago, Reinhardt (20-1, 0-1 UFC) picked up the fight on short notice when Alex Karalexis was forced out. And now Garza takes the fight with only days to prepare.

Garza trains at the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo, N.D., where his training partners have included UFC heavyweight Chris Tuchscherer and TUF 12 Team St-Pierre member Dane Sayers.

Reinhardt's wins have all come on the regional MMA circuit, including King of the Cage and Courage Fighting Championships. His lone loss was in his only UFC appearance. He was submitted by Joe Lauzon early in the first round at UFC 78. Despite two wins after that, his last fight was in January 2008

Zhang will be the first fighter from mainland China to compete in the WEC. Zuffa, owner of the WEC and UFC, recently opened an office in Beijing.

WEC 51 features a main event featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Manny Gamburyan. It will be Aldo's second defense of the title after taking it from Mike Brown at WEC 44 last November. He won a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber to defend the belt at WEC 48 in April.

WEC 51's main card features a co-main event grudge match between former lightweight champion Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone; the return of former bantamweight champ Miguel Torres, looking to end a two-fight skid against Charlie Valencia; George Roop against "The Korean Zombie," Chan Sung Jung; and a featherweight bout between Mark Hominick and Leonard Garcia. The main card will air live on the Versus cable network at 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and takes place at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.