Saturday, June 9, 2012

Injury takes out Aldo, Faber vs. Barao moved to 149

If injuries weren’t already an issue in mixed martial arts, fighters are now pulling out of fights at an alarming rate. This time an injury to one headliner affects two fight cards.

UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo was forced to withdraw from his title defense against Erik Koch, which was slated for July 21 at UFC 149. To replace the main event title fight is another title fight. Sacramento’s Urijah Faber will take on Brazilian Renan Barao for the interim UFC bantamweight title.

Faber was supposed to face UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz in what was slated as the co-main event at UFC 148, but with Cruz sustaining an ACL during training and was replaced by Barao. Now with injuries ravaging the 149 card, Faber-Barao was the smart choice to replace Aldo-Koch.

Before settling on Faber-Barao, a possible Chan Sung Jung vs. Koch fight was discussed but a postponement of Aldo-Koch was decided to be the best choice by UFC brass.

Of the original UFC 149 main card, only Cheick Kongo vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira remains in-tact. Michael Bisping, Thiago Silva, Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama were all once slated to fight in Calgary, but due to injuries the card has undergone a drastic facelift.

The biggest of which is the replacement of Faber-Barao as the main event. Not to mention, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua was once co-main event with Silva, but has since been moved to UFC on FOX 4 to main event against Brandon Vera. Bisping, who was to face Tim Boetsch, was replaced by UFC newcomer and former Bellator and Pride veteran Hector Lombard.

When originally announced UFC 148 was looking like a possible ‘card of the year’ candidate, but due to injuries it has become just another UFC card. Only Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin and the middleweight championship bout between champ Anderson Silva and talkative challenger Chael Sonnen remain. Cung Le, who is facing Pat Cote at 148, was supposed to face Rich Franklin, but Franklin replaced an injured Vitor Belfort and will headline UFC 147 in a rematch against Wanderlei Silva.

The trend of fights and cards changing due to injuries in the UFC continues for the time being. With the amount fighters train and the different martial arts they’re expected to know, the chance of injuring one’s self during training has increased to levels not before seen. And, with ZUFFA’s medical insurance set up the way it is, it’s hard to imagine an end in sight.    

Follow me on Twitter @NiteshDutt.

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