Joe Soto steps in against Michinori Tanaka at UFC 195

Former Bellator Champion Joe Soto

Former Bellator Champion Joe Soto

Russell Doane has been removed from his upcoming bout against Michinori Tanaka. The UFC has replaced the Hawaiian with former Bellator champion Joe Soto. The Tanaka-Soto fight will be part of UFC 195, which takes place Jan. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Soto entered the inaugural Bellator featherweight tournament with a 4-0 record. He swept through the tournament with wins over Ben Greer, Wilson Reis and Yahir Reyes and captured the title. In his first title defense, he fell to world champion wrestler Joe Warren. After a loss to Eddie Yagin under the Tachi Palace Fights banner, Bellator released Soto from his contract. From 2011-2014, Soto won six fights in a row and earned a shot in the UFC. At the last minute, his promotional debut became a title fight against Renan Barao fell out of the main event. Soto fell to champion T.J. Dillashaw in the fifth round.

In 2011, Tanaka defeated “UFC: Road to Japan” finalist Teruto Ishihara to win the Shooto 132-pound rookie title. He won his next five fights to bump his record to 9-0 and get the call from the UFC. In his debut, he scored a decision victory over Roland Delorme. He returned and faced Kyung Ho Kang at UFC Fight Night 52. Tanaka dropped a split decision and later tested positive for a banned substance.

In the main event of UFC 195, welterweight champion Robbie Lawler will look to defend his title against former WEC champion Carlos Condit.