MMA Odds and Ends for Tuesday: Weidman/Machida Off UFC 173 Card — Now What?

Chris Weidman UFC 173 is in need of a new main event. It was announced by the promotion yesterday that UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has a knee injury and will need minor surgery on it, and his title defence against top contender Lyoto Machida has now been moved from UFC 173 in late May to UFC 175 in early July. This is disappointing news for the fighters, the fans, and most importantly the UFC, who are now in a rush to find a new main event for their Memorial Day weekend card in Las Vegas this May. According to UFC president Dana White, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will not be asked to fill in and fight a top contender at UFC 173, so unless White is bluffing, that rules Rousey out and it makes it that much more difficult to determine who will replace Weidman vs. Machida. It’s possible the UFC could call upon one of their lighter-weight champions such as Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, or Demetrious Johnson to fill the void, but as good as all three of those fighters are, none of them have the same drawing power as Weidman and Machida and it will be difficult for the UFC to have their marquee May event headlined by one of them, although at this point it’s possible that’s what will happen. At present, the UFC 173 main card has the following bouts on it: Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic, Takeya Mizugaki vs. TJ Dillashaw, Tony Fergsuon vs. Katsunori Kikuno, and James Krause vs. Jamie Varner. That’s a solid card, but without a title fight it is lacking a bit as far as a PPV-quality card goes. And no, I don’t believe dos Santos vs. Miocic is a suitable main event for one of the biggest PPV cards of the year. In an ideal world, the UFC would add two or three great fights to make up for losing one great one, just like they did at UFC 153 a few years ago, when the fight between Aldo and Frankie Edgar was scratched and in its place the UFC added Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman to the card. That made the fans happy, so even though it wasn’t a title fight the majority of fans still felt they got their money’s worth. But the difference is, even though it was Silva in a non-title fight it was still Silva, and the UFC doesn’t have that luxury now. So they’ll have to go to their second tier of stars to find a replacement at UFC 173 for Weidman vs. Machida. If I had to guess, the UFC will book Aldo vs. Chad Mendes 2 for the main event of UFC 173. That’s a solid fight and a rematch that many fans want to see, and on short notice it’s hard to see the UFC finding a better replacement bout. But that fight is not Weidman vs. Machida, and as a fan who was really looking forward to that fight, I’m just not as excited for UFC 173 this morning as I just yesterday. But hey, at least uFC 175 should be great.

Written by Adam Martin.

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