When UFC 153 was first put together, it featured three stellar fights that would easily make the fans in Brazil head to the HSBC Arena and easily make the fans in the states watch on pay-per-view. Jose Aldo was to defend his UFC featherweight title against Eric Koch, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was to face Glover Teixeira and Vitor Belfort was to fight Alan Belcher. Now, with a little more than a month remaining until the event, only one of those six men remains on the card, Teixeira.
The card first lost Koch to injury, but he was soon replaced with Frankie Edgar. Then Belfort was pulled off the card to fight for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 152, and his original opponent, Belcher pulled out of the card with a spine injury. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, Jackson and Aldo were forced off the card within hours of each other due to injury. The UFC booked replacement fights like Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman and brought in Fabio Maldonado to battle the upstart light heavyweight Teixeira.
With all the intrigue surrounding Teixeira coming into the original fight with Jackson, this could be a letdown fight for him having to battle Maldonado instead. Teixeira has been the talk of the division since it was rumored that Mauricio Rua wouldn't fight him. When Jackson stepped up, it was supposed to be the biggest fight of his career. While his fight with Maldonado won't be as high profile as it would have been with Jackson, it will still be his coming out party in MMA and in the UFC.
Teixeira is 18-2 in his professional career and is 1-0 inside the Octagon, submitting Kyle Kingsbury in the first round of his debut. Prior to entering the UFC, he had won three straight fights in the first round, including wins against Ricco Rodriguez (submission, punches), Marvin Eastman (KO, punch), and Antonio Mendes (submission, Rear-Naked Choke). He has 16 straight wins overall and hasn't suffered a defeat since losing to Ed Herman in 2005.
When UFC 153 begins, the fans will be excited to see a lot of their countrymen compete, but they should be most excited about seeing the last man standing from the original trio of main events. Teixeira is a future champion and should be able to show the MMA world he is for real.
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Martial Arts
- Glover Teixeira
- Vitor Belfort
- Alan Belcher