With just over two weeks to go, UFC 206 in Toronto is need of a new main event. Daniel Cormier has withdrawn from his Light Heavyweight Title defense against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson due to an undisclosed injury, reports MMAFighting.com.
Rashad Evans vs. Tim Kennedy was removed from the line-up earlier this week due to Evans failing to be approved by the athletic commission. Kennedy vs. Kevin Gastelum is a possible replacement match-up.
The default main event now is the corner co-main event, Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway.
Keller’s Analysis: Cormier vs. Johnson was already considered a bit of a letdown just because many fans were hoping this card would mark the return of George St. Pierre. This would seemingly be too short of notice with barely over two weeks before the fight for GSP to be an emergency replacement. That said, UFC 206 cannot survive as a viable full-priced PPV event without a strong replacement main event. There’s no a single viable marquee main event fighter on the UFC events right before or right after UFC 206 that could conceivably be moved into a main event slot, and with UFC 207 on Dec. 30, thinning out that line-up by shifting one of the co-main events to UFC 206 would knock 20 days off of their training and doesn’t seem realistic. The light-heavyweight division isn’t stacked with healthy marquee names right now. Alexander Gustafsson’s ongoing back issues could prohibit him from being a substitution, and Johnson already beat him in the first round back in January 2015, so he has nothing to gain other than a payday even if that fight were a possibility. If Cormier’s injury is minor, Johnson is likely to hold out for a delayed title fight in early 2017. Stay tuned to see what UFC is able to pull off.