It seems that UFC 133 is now officially cursed. Less than a week after the promotion had to seek a replacement fighter for the show’s main event, now they are doing likewise for the co-main event after Antonio Rogerio Nogueira withdrew due to a shoulder injury.
That leaves Rich Franklin without an opponent and the UFC are now scrambling to find somebody suitable to step in and ensure that ‘Ace’ remains on the card.
This has clearly been a very difficult time for the UFC, but due to the depth of talent they have on their roster the card has so far yet to suffer in terms of quality. Some people see Phil Davis being replaced with Tito Ortiz in the main event as being an improvement, while Matt Hamill being drafted in to replace Vladimir Matyushenko is a like-for-like switch.
Doing the same with Lil Nog’s replacement is going to be trickier though as other possibilities are now few and far between.
That means that if Franklin is able to stay on the card he may be facing an opponent further down the light-heavyweight ladder. That’ll be a unique experience for the former middleweight champion given that he’s faced a veritable murderer’s row of talent over the past few years with four of his last five fights coming against former champions.
It’s believed that the first fighter to be called upon to help out was another Brazilian, Fabiano Maldonado who’s currently 1-1 in the UFC, but he was not willing to take on the fight at such short notice with only three weeks left until fight night.
And so the search continues and of course we’ll keep you posted as soon as we get word on who Franklin is eventually lined up to fight.