The UFC’s injury curse has struck again. The promotion are today scrambling to find a replacement for UFC 133 headliner Phil Davis after he pulled out of his fight with Rashad Evans due to a knee injury picked up in training.
With less than a month left until the fight it’ll be challenging for the UFC to find a suitable opponent for Evans who was expected to be confirmed as the next No.1 contender at light-heavyweight if he wins his upcoming bout.
So who are the UFC’s main options?
What we do know is that the promotion first spoke to Tito Ortiz about stepping in as a late replacement following his big win over Ryan Bader less than two weeks ago. The former champion has since confirmed that he has turned down the opportunity however.
“I have a life and things to take care of,” Ortiz explain on Twitter. “The fight game is about making the right choices of my career. If you knew what I have been going through you all would understand. Peaking for a fight is what makes a fighter unstoppable! Timing is everything in life. This is a rebuild year for me not do or die. The time will come again! #positive”
It’s now believed that the UFC have turned to another former champion Lyoto Machida who earlier this week had expressed his concern that he didn’t have a suitable opponent lined up yet that could get him nearer to a title shot.
A fight with Evans would certainly fit the bill, but taking on such a big fight on less than four weeks notice is a big risk and Machida has stated that at this stage he’s only been doing light training while waiting for the UFC to establish who he’ll face next.
What may give Machida confidence however is the fact that he has already defeated Evans convincingly in the past, KO’ing him in one of his most dominant performances back in May of 2009 to claim the 205lb title.
While it places a lot of pressure on Machida, it would also require a big change in gameplan for Evans, with ‘The Dragon’ and Davis being two completely different fighters, and facing the only fighter to have ever defeated him off the back of over a year on the sidelines is hardly ideal preparation for the former Ultimate Fighter season 2 winner.
Nevertheless, though the fight isn’t official yet, all signs point to Evans Vs Machida 2 now headlining the show in Philly.