UFC 153 recovers from total devastation
UFC 151 was unquestionably the most disastrous card in the promotion's history. Unlike UFC 108 and the like, which were plagued by injury, the event scheduled for 2012's Labor Day Weekend simply never happened due to last-minute injuries and turned-down fights.
And just when that seemed (at least somewhat) in the past, Dana White revealed this week that UFC 153 was falling apart. Without a main or co-main event, the card seemed to be on route to becoming an irrelevant, superstar-deficient one. That is, until the UFC announced that Anderson Silva would return to save the day.
The event takes place on October 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has undergone some major (and we mean major) changes.
From an original main event between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and top contender Erik Koch to a new one between Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar at light heavyweight, UFC 153 finally seems to be good-to-go as October approaches.
UFC 153 Timetable
What's there to say about "Rampage" these days? He and the UFC have been feuding for some time, and the fighter-turned-actor even demanded a release at one point. UFC president Dana White was able to convince him to honor his contract, however, and he was scheduled to face rising-star Teixeira in Rio.
As much drama surrounds the former UFC light heavyweight champion, every single fan should want to see him fight, and his presence on the card certainly would have bolstered sales in a big way. We loved this fight. There simply wasn't a reason not to.
At this point, it seems like ages ago when featherweight champion Aldo was officially scheduled to meet Erik Koch at UFC 153. The bout was all set to headline the event, allowing Aldo to once again find himself in the spotlight in front of his Brazilian fans.
After all, the last time Aldo competed, he did so in front of his home-country fans, earning a dominant finish over Team Alpha Male's Chad Mendes.
Perhaps Koch was not the fight everyone wanted; many were calling for Aldo to fight "The Korean Zombie" next. Even so, the match up was worthy of the main event billing. Little did anyone know just how much the card's main event would change in a few months.
August 31 -- Koch out, Frankie Edgar steps in against Aldo
Just a short while after reports surfaced that Frankie Edgar would be moving to featherweight, he was immediately thrown into the biggest fight possible at the 145 lb. limit.
A knee injury forced Koch out of the bout, and Edgar stepped in against Aldo in what would arguably be the biggest featherweight fight in MMA history. The only true competition would be Aldo's fight against Urijah Faber, if only because Faber was the biggest star in the WEC and remains one of the biggest in the UFC.
Like the "Rampage" vs. Teixeira fight, there was little not to love about this match up. Many had been calling Edgar to move down, Aldo needed a huge fight, and the featherweight division certainly needed some depth.
Even Dana White was very much interested in the move happening.
And it's hard to blame him. Edgar's last six fights, all title fights, earned him a record of 3-2-1. He was undersized, but incredibly skillful, and a drop to featherweight seemed like somewhat of a no-brainer.
Another no-brainer? This fight would draw a much larger pay-per-view audience than Aldo vs. Koch would have.
September 11: UFC 153 Falls Apart
As mentioned before, the UFC and Jackson have not been on the greatest terms recently, and "Rampage's" withdrawal from UFC 153 probably didn't do too much to help that out.
Dana White went to Twitter to announce that the highly-anticipated co-main event between Teixeira and Jackson was no more, as the latter suffered an injury in training and was forced to withdraw from the card.
Still, with Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar headlining, a solid replacement for Jackson could have been enough to salvage the card. Little did we know how much more the card would change as the day progressed.
Most company's do their best to prepare for a worst-case scenario. And the UFC is no different. After hundreds of events, they have almost always managed to make changes when they were necessary, with UFC 151 obviously being the only time the company was forced to cancel an event.
Well, when Jose Aldo went down with an injury and was forced out of his bout against Frankie Edgar, Dana White once again went into worst-case scenario mode with just four weeks to resolve the situation.
With a main and co-main event gone, UFC 153 seemed in big trouble. There really was no question that the event would happen; the UFC had enough time to get it up to par. However, the card was desolated by these losses, quickly undergoing de-evolution into a card not worth the pay-per-view price tag.
Our condolences to the UFC.
September 12: Dana White works his magic
When all hope seems lost, not surprisingly Anderson Silva is your answer.
The promotion somehow managed to convince the middleweight champion to jump back up to light heavyweight against Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153, taking over the main event slot.
No, this fight does not carry much weight. The only way some crazy storyline comes out of this is if Bonnar wins. The only way a fighter truly benefits from this fight is if Bonnar wins.
Basically, Silva has little to gain from this contest, except for the monetary gains that will be made. But still, he's Anderson Silva, and it's hard to turn down a chance to watch the greatest fighter alive compete, no matter who he is fighting.
Talk is already making its way across the internet that this fight is meaningless and not worth the cost, but the UFC took a completely destroyed card and turned it into a product people will be willing to buy.
Like Dana White says, if you don't like the card, don't buy it. Just know that you'll be missing a chance to watch Silva fight. You know, the greatest fighter in UFC history?
Just a thought.
He isn't "Rampage" Jackson, but Fabio Maldonado made it known that he would gladly step in against Teixeira as a late replacement.
And the UFC was listening.
The fight will be featured on the main card and is a perfect opportunity for Maldonado to break through his two-fight losing streak and become relevant again, while it is a chance for Teixeira to put away a big underdog and continue on his way into contention.
This fight won't turn heads, nor will it prove to be a big draw, but Teixeira remains on the card. If you saw him fight at UFC 146, you probably can't wait to get another look at the guy in action.
While Silva is certainly the most notable Brazilian in the sport, let alone on the card, a countryman of his also stepped up big for the UFC, as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira returns to face Dave Herman in Brazil.
Like Silva, Nogueira will draw fans to this card. His history in PRIDE and his battles in the UFC have created a legendary legacy for the submission ace, and, against Herman, we could very well be seeing him in one of his last fights.
Herman is nowhere close to the draw that Nogueira is, but he represents the new school fighters coming into the mainstream and he happens to be in desperate need of a win.
The UFC went above and beyond with this one, understanding just how big a hit the card took with the high-profile injuries, while resolving the problem by putting together three fights that fans should want to tune in for.
At this point, it's hard to believe just two days ago this card was gutted and not worthy of the pay-per-view price tag.