With yet another bout scratched due to injury, the UFC 170 card is in trouble. It was announced yesterday by the UFC that former light heavyweight kingpin Rashad Evans has an injured leg and is out of his co-main event matchup against Daniel Cormier. No replacement will be sought to fight Cormier on a week’s notice, and the UFC 170 card will go on with only 10 booked fights. According to UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, the bout between Evans and Cormier could be re-booked for UFC 172 pending on the severity of Evans’ injury. But it won’t be on UFC 170, and without it, the card takes a massive, massive hit. UFC 170, which is headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann, will now feature a co-main event pitting top-ranked welterweights Demian Maia and Rory MacDonald against one another. The other confirmed bouts on the five-fight main card are also welterweight matchups pitting Stephen Thompson and Robert Whittaker against one another, as well as Mike Pyle taking on TJ Waldburger. The fifth main card bout hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it’s like either Jessica Eye vs. Alexis Davis or Raphael Assuncao vs. Pedro Munhoz will move up from the prelims to take the spot DC vs. Evans previously held. I don’t really think in its current incarnation that UFC 170 is a pay-per-view worthy card, and this whole situation reminds me a lot about UFC 151, when the scratch of the main event of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson led the whole card to being cancelled. In this situation, the headliner between Rousey and McMann remains intact, but for a lot of people the Evans vs. Cormier fight was the real main event of the card, and without that fight, this card is going to have a hard time selling on pay-per-view, even despite the presence of Rousey. Think about it. The following fights were supposed to happen at UFC 170 at one point or another, but for whatever reason aren’t going to happen now:
- Evans vs. Cormier (Evans leg injury)
- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Gilbert Melendez (Melendez didn’t get a contract signed in time)
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rustam Khabilov (Khabilov broke his finger)
- Assuncao vs. Francisco Rivera (Rivera broke his hand)
- Bryan Caraway vs. Lucas Martins (both fighters got injured)
Had those fights remained intact on UFC 170, we’d be talking about an epic card. But with all the injuries and scratches, we’re now past a UFC 149 situation, and much closer to that of UFC 151. The best thing that could happen is it the fighters outperform expectations and put on a show next weekend in Las Vegas, but if the card turns out to be a dud it shouldn’t come as a surprise, and the PPV buyrate suffering wouldn’t be shocking, either. UPDATE: The UFC announced on Thursday afternoon that undefeated Patrick Cummins will fight Daniel Cormier on short notice in the new co-main event of UFC 170.