October 06, 2011
Yesterday, speculation mounted that Jon Jones, fresh off his title defense against Quinton Jackson at UFC 135, would fight Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 140 in Toronto. UFC president reacted angrily to that speculation, and now we know why he was so angry. It turns out that a main event for Jones was in the works, but one where he will face former champ Lyoto Machida.
Machida's last bout was a knockout of Randy Couture in May. When Phil Davis fell out of his August bout with Rashad Evans, Machida was approached to fill in on short notice, but he asked for too much money and the UFC brought in Tito Ortiz, instead. Machida, who is 1-2 in his last three fights, now gets a title shot.
Once again, Rashad Evans, who has been "next in line" for a title shot since beating Jackson last May, is once again pushed to the side. He has been rehabilitating a broken hand. Pins were removed yesterday, and he could start training in three weeks.
Unfortunately, that's not quick enough for the UFC, who was in need of a main event for the Toronto event. This is the promotion's second trip to Toronto this year, and they needed to make a splash. With tickets on sale next week, a main event was needed to sell it, and Evans was the big loser.
Better planning could have prevented this. Between Aug. 27 and Nov. 12, every UFC belt has been or will be contested. Instead of jamming so much into this time period, the UFC could have looked ahead to their Toronto event and planned a title defense for it, or put the Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem fight as the main event. Jones not sustaining a serious injury at 135 was a stroke of luck, or they might have had to scramble for a main event.
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