UFC 133 Fight Card News: Injuries Continue To Plague August 6 PPV Event

The UFC 133 fight card was to be headlined by a light heavyweight clash between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis, but Davis had to pull out due to injury. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will now face Evans. The event takes place August 6, 2011, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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UFC 133 Fight Card: Rashad Evans Vs. Tito Ortiz Official

Now it's official. UFC President Dana White took to Twitter today to confirm the new opponent for Rashad Evans at UFC 133. Despite speculation and some reports former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida would fill in for the injured Phil Davis, it turns out that is not true. Here's White's Tweet:

Get ready philly for Rashad Evans vs Tito Ortiz!!! Aug 6th LIVE on PPV at the Wells Fargo Center!!!!!!less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

This is an excellent move by the UFC. Evans did not stand a good chance of beating Machida. Had he lost, that would've ruined a potential blockbuster fight between Evans and bitter rival UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Moreover, Evans vs. Ortiz is a rematch (they first fought at UFC 73 in July of 2007), even with some controversy. While the fight was declared a draw, most observers believed Ortiz would've been the rightful winner had he not been deducted a point for grabbing the fence to avoid takedowns.

Ortiz, coming off of a major win over Ryan Bader, is still grappling with damage to his brand despite the important recent win. Still, Evans and Ortiz will likely do everything in their promotional power to hype the event. Given the storylines and Ortiz's superior star power relative to Davis, this is arguably a better main event in terms of pay-per-view  and ticket sales are concerned.


UFC 133 Fight Card: Lyoto Machida Not Yet In For Phil Davis

Scratch that. It appears former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is not yet in for Phil Davis at UFC 133. Kevin Iole initially Tweeted Machida had accepted the fight. Now, he's saying Machida not yet in. To wit:

Correction: Davis is out, Machida not yet in per @danawhiteless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Moreover, Brazilian MMA journalist Guilherme Cruz says he spoke to Machida's manager, Ed Soares, and that Machida likely won't take the fight:

Spoke with Ed Soares, Lyoto's manager, and he told me Lyoto vs Rashad probably won't happen. Not enough time to get ready. Story coming...less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

We'll have more on this situation as it develops, but the UFC is in a precarious position here. With a lack of available opposition and a short timeline making interest in a tough fight hard to come by, they're facing a situation where they either rob Peter to pay Paul (i.e. take a fighter off of another fight later this year) or wade through without a key main event to anchor the show.


UFC 133 Fight Card: Dana White Confirms Lyoto Machida In For Phil Davis

It's confirmed. UFC President Dana White told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports that former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will replace the injured Phil Davis against Rashad Evans at UFC 133 on August 6th. This will be a rematch from their UFC 98 main event in May of 2009 where Machida defeated Evans in the first round via TKO. Here's Iole's confirmation:

Just got a text from @danawhite. Machida is in vs Suga Rashad, he says #MMAless than a minute ago via Osfoora HD Favorite Retweet Reply

The news of Machida as Evans' replacement was first reported late last night by Matthew Roth of Head Kick Legend.

The short-run realities vs. long-run costs are in deep play here. In the immediate run, this may actually improve UFC 133's pay-per-view and ticket sales. Evans vs. Davis was a competitive match-up, but hardly a promotional blockbuster. A rematch, however, between Evans and Machida offers much more star power and storyline than anything Davis vs. Evans could hope to offer.

However, should Evans lose (and most experts will likely assume Machida can defeat Evans again), the UFC losses out on potential mega-fight between bitter enemies Evans and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

As a side note, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz was also offered the fight against Evans, but turned it down. When I asked Ortiz the day after beating Ryan Bader when he'd be ready to fight again, he told me "two weeks":

Luke Thomas: How fast can you turn around if you could game plan?

Tito Ortiz: Two weeks.

Luke Thomas: You could fight at UFC 133, 134, or 135 easily, right?

Tito Ortiz: Whatever they want, I'm ready. I'm healthy, I'm good, no problems. My knee's a little sore from when Ryan kicked the inside of my knee but I checked it so his foot must be killing today. That and his chin.

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