Earlier today we brought you the news that Phil ‘Mr Wonderful’ Davis had pulled out of his main event bout with Rashad Evans at UFC 133, and just hours later we though we knew his replacement – Lyoto Machida.
“Just got a text from @danawhite. Machida is in vs Suga Rashad,” Yahoo! Sport’s Kevin Iole wrote on Twitter, but he later went on to correct himself and noted that Machida was not yet locked in after all.
Meanwhile TATAME are reporting that Machida’s manager Ed Soares expects the fight to be turned down.
“It won’t happen… I think he doesn’t have enough time to get ready,” Soares said today. “I’m at Rio de Janeiro with Jose Aldo, Anderson (Silva) and (Rodrigo) Minotauro, do Joinha (Jorge Guimarães) is dealing with this negotiations, but, from what I know, it won’t happen”.
The UFC had originally offered Tito Ortiz the fight, but the former champion turned it down. If Machida follows suit then it will leave the promotion in a very awkward position with no other major 205lb star being free to take on the fight at this late stage.
Fighters in the division who currently don’t have a fight who could provide a stop-gap solution would include Stephan Bonnar and Brendan Vera, but it’s in everybody’s best interests if Evans is given a fighter in the upper-reaches of the division to justify a title shot being granted if he wins.
If worst comes to worst and an opponent can’t be found then the last option would be to boost the current co-main event between Rich Franklin and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira up to headline the card instead.