When it was first announced, it seemed as though the UFC on FOX 9 card was truly shaping up as one of the best fight cards of 2013. Unfortunately, the injury bug has bitten in a major way. The latest and perhaps biggest blow to the event is the loss of a hugely anticipated welterweight matchup between Carlos Condit and Matt Brown.
“The Immortal,” who has resurrected his career with an impressive six-fight win streak, was forced to withdraw from the biggest fight of his career because of two herniated discs in his back. With no time to find someone on such short notice to face someone of Condit’s abilities, “The Natural Born Killer” is also out of the event.
Condit, a former interim champion, has worked his way back into title contention and is fresh off a devastating performance against Martin Kampmann at Fight Night 27. Hopefully the bout can be re-booked down the road as it had the makings of being a sensational scrap. It’s not an overstatement to say that the Brown-Condit matchup may have been the most eagerly anticipated on the entire card. There are rumblings that Condit will be shifted to the UFC 170 PPV card on Feb. 22. There would be exciting potential matchups to make if that’s indeed the case.
The Sacramento event has been severely impacted by injury withdrawals. The initial headliner for the Dec. 14 event was slated to be the first title defense by new lightweight champion Anthony Pettis against Josh Thomson. Of course, Pettis is to undergo knee surgery this coming week and will be on the shelf for six-to-eight months. As a result, the new headliner is a flyweight title rematch between champion Demetrious Johnson and top-contender Joseph Benavidez.
Veteran Scott Jorgensen saw two top-five flyweights pull out of a matchup against him as both Ian McCall and John Dodson were forced out because of injury. Kelvin Gastelum and Jamie Varner were other injury casualties.
The event will still have some attractive matchups for fans to enjoy, but based upon what was originally put together by UFC matchmakers, the card truly has the feel of what might have been.
The main card will feature the Johnson vs. Benavidez title clash, Urijah Faber against Michael McDonald, Chad Mendes–Nik Lentz with the Joe Lauzon–Mac Danzig fight getting promoted. Here’s hoping that lineup will stay in place.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA writer for Rant Sports.