Nate Landwehr happy with UFC on ESPN 54 switch from Pat Sabatini to Jamall Emmers: ‘It’s better for the fans’

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – A curveball was thrown Nate Landwehr’s way ahead of his return to the octagon, and he was more than OK with it.

The fan-favorite UFC featherweight was scheduled to make his return against Pat Sabatini at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 54. However, about three weeks out from the event, Sabatini withdrew from the matchup and was replaced with Jamall Emmers (20-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC). It’s a drastic change in challenges, but one that Landwehr (17-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) welcomes.

“I feel like it’s better for the fans,” Landwehr said at the UFC on ESPN 54 media day on Wednesday. “I feel like the Pat Sabatini fight would’ve been less exciting. I think this is going to be a good, exciting fight for the fans to see.”

Landwehr thinks the Sabatini matchup lent itself to being a less action-packed bout than the one against Emmers, given the styles of both fighters.

“I just feel like Emmers is more of a, you know, he’s going to come forward, and we’re going to strike,” Landwehr said. “I think Pat would’ve been desperate for the takedown. It would’ve been a lot of wrestling. His game plan would have been to take me down and try to hold me there.

“I’m not saying Jamall Emmers is not going to try to take me down and hold me down, but the likelihood is that we’re going to see some great exchanges.”

Landwehr is coming off a June loss to Dan Ige. The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak that had him pick up two Performance of the Night bonuses and one Fight of the Night – each worth $50,000.

The former M-1 champion hopes to get back in the win column and start angling at the top of the division once again.

“I would like to try to get back at a shot at the top 15, but everything right now it’s focused on Saturday night.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 54.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie