Saturday, August 6th, the UFC comes to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though it was not an easy road to get there. The fight card for UFC 133 has been riddled with injured fighters and card changes. Originally, this event was to feature a match up for the Light Heavyweight Championship between former training partners and friends, champion Jonny “Bones” Jones and “Sugar” Rashad Evans. However due to a hand injury to Jones, he was replaced by stand out, Phil Davis. Davis then suffered a knee injury just three weeks ago and was pulled from the main event. UFC officials tried put together a rematch between Evans and the man that beat him for the Light Heavyweight Championship, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, but the money wasn’t good enough for Machida. So in steps Tito Ortiz.
Evans and Ortiz had also fought before. In July 2007, Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans fought to a majority draw. Now they’ll get their chance to settle a score and see a real winner. Evans is next in line for a title shot. A win cements that. A loss would put him back down the ladder. A win for Ortiz puts him back at the top of the division and in the mix as one of the contenders. An amazing turn of events considering he was on the cusp of getting cut from the UFC had he not beaten Ryan Bader at UFC 132.
Injuries also affected the co-main event and undercard of UFC 133. The co-main event was to feature Pride legend Antonio Rodgerio Nogueira taking on former UFC Middleweight Champion, Rich Franklin. Nogueira pulled out due to a shoulder injury just two weeks ago and Franklin decided to sit out instead of taking on a short notice fight. Also, Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo was set to defend his title against Chad Mendes, but he’s out until October and Mendes is now matched up against Rani Yahya. Other replacements: Vladimir Matushenko has been replaced by Matt Hamill, Ivan Menjivar replaces Michael McDonald and Costantinos Philippou replaces Alessio Sakara.
Props go out to the UFC for salvaging this card. In fact Evans against Ortiz is more interesting than his fight against Davis. Add in there exciting match ups like Belfort vs Akiyama and MacDonald vs Pyle, this card on paper, actually looks pretty good.
Here’s my predictions for UFC 133
Rashad Evans over Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision
Vitor Belfort over Yoshihiro Akiyama via KO in Round 1
Dennis Hallman over Brian Ebersole via unanimous decision
Jorge Rivera over Costantinos Philippou via TKO in Round 2
Rory MacDonald over Mike Pyle via unanimous decision
Matt Hamill over Alexander Gustafsson via TKO in Round 2
Chad Mendes over Rani Yahya via unanimous decision
Nick Pace over Ivan Menjivar via submission in Round 3
Nam Phan over Mike Brown via unanimous decision
Paul Bradley over Rafael Natal via unanimous decision
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