MMA Odds and Ends for Tuesday: Jones Injured, Bout With Cormier Pushed To January

Jones CormierWell it seems UFC 178 simply isn’t meant to be the blockbuster event everyone had it pegged as since way back in March, when Alexander Gustafsson reclaimed his #1 contender’s slot with a victory over Jimi Manuwa. Few saw Jon Jones’ April title defense against Glover Teixeira as more than a mere detour on the route to Jones/Gustafsson 2, and the masses were correct. Although it took some time to decide on a particular date and venue, the bout was highly anticipated whenever and wherever it would occur. Then, all of a sudden, Alexander Gustafsson was forced to drop out of the fight with a torn meniscus. No problem, in stepped Daniel Cormier to take his place and the MMA world was even more excited. Then the infamous media day brawl took place, and UFC 178 became a must-watch event for more than just the MMA community. It had the type of buzz that few UFC events garner, and likely would have been the largest grossing light heavyweight bout since Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans back at UFC 114. Of course, things rarely ever go to plan in MMA, and even the backup plans fall through sometimes. Jon Jones announced yesterday that he too was injured in training and forced out of UFC 178. The organization has tentatively rescheduled Jones and Cormier to headline UFC 182 in January, where they will likely share the card with Ronda Rousey in a year-end (or starting) card that hearkens back to the days of stacked events around the New Year. The only problem with all of this however, is that this was supposed to be Alexander Gustafsson’s fight all along, and by January he will likely be ready to go. Will the UFC really forego what could be another classic between Jones and Gustafsson for the dollar signs seemingly evident for Jones and Cormier? It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months, but early indications are that the Swede is going to end up a very unhappy camper. Of course in MMA news when it rains, it pours, and it was a busy day beyond the Jones injury. UFC 177 and flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson felt the domino effect from the injury, as his title defense against Chris Cariaso will now be moving to the main event of UFC 178. Understanding that fans would be frustrated with the change, Johnson tweeted (tongue-in-cheek), “Bad: You’ll have to wait a bit longer to see me win again. Good: I’m the new UFC 178 headliner. Bout time that card gets a real main event.” To fill out UFC 177, the organization has put together a bout between a pair of highly touted champions from the regional circuit. Former Bellator and Tachi Palace Fights champion Joe Soto will compete just three weeks after his most recent bout, and he’ll be taking on former MFC champion Anthony Birchak in one of the better fights between UFC newcomers that has been made in 2014. The bantamweights will likely fill out a spot on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Soto’s old promotion also announced a pair of bouts yesterday, as heavy hitters Doug Marshall and Melvin Manhoef will headline Bellator 125 on September 19th. While this bout is of almost zero relevance in any sort of divisional rankings, it should be violent and entertaining for however long it lasts. Following in the same mould is the co-main event on the card featuring Brian Rogers and James Irvin, two of the men found on any highlight reel of flying knees in MMA history. Betting lines will likely lean towards Manhoef and Rogers in their respective bouts, as they are the more talented strikers in what should be exclusively striking contests. A pair of AXS TV promotions announced upcoming bouts as well, with Legacy FC 37 being headlined by two of its former champions, Leonard Garcia and Daniel Pineda. Garcia just lost his featherweight belt to Damon Jackson at Legacy FC 33, and Pineda — a former lightweight and featherweight champ in the promotion — was just re-signed after being cut from the UFC. It’s quite likely that Jackson will be signed to the UFC before this bout takes place on November 14th, and if that is the case this could determine a new champion as well. Following Garcia’s quick loss in his last outing, expect the public to favor Pineda, and he will likely open as a slight favorite. RFA continues their tour around the Western United States as RFA 18 takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 12th. The event will be headlined by flyweight champion Matt Manzanares defends his belt against undefeated Albuquerque native Joby Sanchez. Sanchez just knocked off Antonio Banuelos last week at Tachi Palace Fights 20, and will be taking this bout on just over a month’s notice. This line should be close, but the public may push it slightly towards Manzanares simply because he is the more well-known of the two.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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