August 6th’s injury ravaged UFC 133 fight card suffered a major blow today with the news that the promotion have been unable to find Rich Franklin a new opponent and so have been left with no choice but to pull him from the show.
Franklin had originally been scheduled to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-main event, but it emerged yesterday that Lil Nog had suffered a shoulder injury in training and had been forced to bow out of the fight.
Remarkably this was the third injury to a light-heavyweight fighter on the same card after main event star Phil Davis and preliminary card fighter Vladimir Matyushenko also withdrew from their fights.
On those two occasions the UFC had been able to respond quickly and successfully with Tito Ortiz replacing Davis in the main event and Matt Hamill stepping in for Matyushenko, but when news of Nogueira’s injury filtered through it left them with few cards still to play.
It is known that a call was put in to Brazilian fighter Fabiano Maldonado as a possible late replacement but he turned it down due to not having adequate time to prepare in just three weeks.
It’s not clear whether any other fighters were contacted, but regardless the end result is that UFC 133’s main card has now significantly diminished in terms of it’s star power with Franklin and Lil Nog removed.
Trying to make do the best they can with what they have the promotion have now announced that the main card fight between Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama has now been promoted to co-main event status, while the preliminary bout between Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman now graduates to a spot on the pay-per-view card.
Despite that there’s no question that those who’ve paid for tickets to the Philadelphia show will be sorely disappointed by this news, though the UFC can’t be blamed due to the freak set of circumstances that have lead to this unfortunate outcome.