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Ronny Markes out of WSOF 20 main event; David Branch gets new opponent

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WSOF

World Series of Fighting 20 has lost yet another competitor during fight week.

Three days after Melvin Guillard was pulled from the card, headliner Ronny Markes dropped out of the main event Thursday, the day of weigh-ins, WSOF executive vice president Ali Abdel Aziz told MMAFighting.com. Markes is in the hospital, Abdel Aziz said. The official word from WSOF is that Markes is suffering from dehydration.

"Ronny's condition is an unfortunate situation, but we are glad that his health has improved since the episode he experienced earlier today," said WSOF President Ray Sefo in a statement.

"WSOF is committed to the safety of its athletes," continued Sefo, "and, therefore, there is no way that we could allow Ronny to go on and compete despite the turnaround in his condition."

David Branch will remain on the card and face Jesse McElligott in the main event. Branch-Markes was supposed to be part of WSOF's light heavyweight title tournament, but Abdel Aziz is not sure if that will stay in place with Markes being out.

WSOF 20 is scheduled for Friday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Conn., and will air live on NBC Sports Network.

Guillard was yanked from his WSOF 20 co-main event with Ozzy Dugulubgov on Monday after the UFC veteran did not provide the adequate medical documentation in time to fight. Dugulubgov will now meet Lucas Montoya and a bout between Nick Newell and Joe Condon was upgraded to the main event.

McElligott (5-1) will make his WSOF debut on the card. The 24-year-old Massachusetts resident was supposed to meet Steve Skrzat at the event originally. He's on a two-fight winning streak.

Branch (15-3) is actually the World Series of Fighting middleweight champion, but he is moving up in an effort to win two belts.

WSOF 19 on March 28 was also struck with the illness bug. Matt Hamill had to pull out of the co-main event against Thiago Silva after he ended up in the hospital the day of the fight. Teddy Holder filled in and ended up pulling off a huge upset by knocking Silva out in the first round.

McElligott will try to pull off an even bigger stunner Friday night.