Injuries take toll on UFC schedule
Several major UFC bouts that were scheduled or tentatively planned for the next few months have started to unravel the past two days because of injuries.
UFC officials have confirmed that Lyoto Machida will need surgery on one of his hands, thus delaying the planned middleweight championship rematch with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (18-4). Machida injured his hand during his controversial win over Rua during UFC 104 Saturday in Los Angeles.
Machida (16-0) retained his championship with a unanimous decision, but the vast majority of media and fans thought Rua had done enough to take the championship. UFC president Dana White was among those who thought the decision went the wrong way and wanted to set up a rematch as soon as possible.
White was hopeful to get the rematch in as soon as Jan. 2, when the company has one of its traditional major events of the year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Rua had agreed to the date, but Machida’s surgery eliminates whatever slim possibility there was that he would be fully recovered and ready in time for that date. Right now, it is not known when the fight would be able to take place.
In addition, with Anderson Silva (25-4) recovering from elbow surgery, the date for his match with Vitor Belfort (19-8) for the middleweight title once scheduled for the same show remains up in the air.
Brock Lesnar (4-1) defending the heavyweight title against Shane Carwin (11-0) looks to be the main event of that show. That match was moved from Nov. 21 because Lesnar was unable to get in a good training camp due to a bad strain of the flu.
Machida vs. Rua and Silva vs. Belfort will be rescheduled as soon as Machida and Belfort are healthy. The company has two major events scheduled for February, a Feb. 6 date in Las Vegas as part of their annual night before the Super Bowl show, and a Feb. 21 date in Sydney, Australia.
Georges St. Pierre, who has been out of action with a torn abductor muscle, was expected to defend his welterweight title on one of those two shows, but it is possible he won’t be available until March.
The scheduled Dec. 12 match for UFC 107 in Memphis that was just put together in the last week, matching Thiago Alves (16-6) and Jon Fitch (19-3, 1 no contest), also just fell apart.. Alves suffered a torn posterior cruciate injury and will be out three to four weeks, which would leave him with two weeks max of training time for the fight. The match between the highly ranked welterweights was scheduled as the No. 2 match on UFC 107, underneath the B.J. Penn vs. Diego Sanchez championship match.
Alves’ camp asked for the fight to be moved to January, but because UFC just moved Fitch from Nov. 21 to Dec. 12, it didn’t want to move him again and is looking for a new opponent. Alves later agreed to do the fight with limited training, until his camp talked him out of it, noting that Fitch is the level of fighter you have to prepare for.
Finally, the Kurt Pellegrino (14-4) vs. Frank Edgar (10-1) lightweight fight on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas, on a live Spike TV special that would include the finals of the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” has been scrapped. Pellegrino dropped out due to a back injury. Edgar now is scheduled to face Matt Veach (11-0) in what easily will be the biggest test of Veach’s career.