The once muddied UFC Middleweight Division may have gained some clarity thanks to an unfortunate injury to one of its top contenders and a new name may be inserted into the mix.
News broke late Tuesday that Luke Rockhold has suffered a knee injury and was forced to pull out of his five-round main event fight with Jacare Souza from Melbourne, Australia on Nov. 27 (Nov. 26 in North America). The fight was part of a pair of big middleweight fights this month that was hoped to produce a clear number one contender to Michael Bisping’s UFC Middleweight Championship. With Rockhold out, Bisping waiting for an opponent, and Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero set to square off on Nov. 12, Jacare may have just stumbled upon a title shot.
There is no word on what’s next for Jacare yet, but he appears to be off the card as UFC announced today that Robert Whittaker vs. Derek Brunson has been bumped up to the main event slot and will now be a five round fight.
Jacare Souza’s schedule looks to have just cleared up.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: As I discussed in the MMATorch Roundtable on this topic last night, Jacare is now the best choice to fight for the title. He was deserving before and now, from a timing standpoint, he’s the best choice to fight Bisping. Bisping is looking for bigger money fights, which is understandable, but none of those look to be panning out, so he should just put his money where his mouth is and fight the best in the division.
The Whittaker-Brunson fight was one that was bound to fly under the radar in such a busy November, particularly in the Middleweight Division. Being in the main event, and picking up an impressive win, will move one of them closer to the conversation with the other big names in the division. Brunson looked scary good against Uriah Hall in September so a similar win over Whittaker would really see him move up in the rankings and would necessitate a fight with one of the big guns.
WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Jose Aldo’s coach Andre Pederneiras told Comabte in Brazil that Aldo is no longer considering retirement and is looking at February or March for a fight depending on how things shake out with Conor McGregor at UFC 205, but he insists that his next fight has to be for the undisputed Featherweight Championship.
-The Professional Fighters Association is looking to set up an executive board that consists of nine current or veteran UFC fighters within the next month. The PFA’s long term goals is unionization of UFC fighters. (SOURCE)
-Urijah Faber has announced major upgrades to come to his Team Alpha Male gym that will serve the public as well as his team of professional fighters. In a press release issued to MMATorch, Faber stated, “What worked 10 years ago, when we opened our first gym, won’t cut it in today’s market. Everything needs to be optimized to provide a true one-stop shop type of atmosphere.” The new gym is targeted to open around the time of Faber’s retirement fight on Dec. 13 in Sacramento.
-There will be a meet and greet for Bellator 163 ticket holders featuring Chael Sonnen, Royce Gracie, and Tito Ortiz on Friday from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena concourse.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-Takeya Mizugaki vs. Eddie Wineland at UFC on Fox on Dec. 13 from Sacramento.
-John Lineker vs. T.J. Dillashaw is being targeted for UFC 207 on Dec. 30 from Las Vegas.
-Darrion Caldwell vs. Joe Taimanglo at Bellator 167 on Dec. 3 from Thackerville, Oklahoma.
-Philipe Lins vs. Pietro Cappelli and John Salter vs. Claudio Annicchiarico at Bellator 168 on Dec. 10 from Florence, Italy.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/1: Ronda Rousey tells Ellen she doesn’t have many fights left in her (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)