UFC officials will be forced to do some scrambling to find a new main event for UFC 176 due to an injury sustained by featherweight champion Jose Aldo. The dominant 145-pound titlist has been forced out of his rematch against No. 1 contender Chad Mendes that had been slated to headline the event in Los Angeles.
While the talented champion is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the entire organization, his UFC tenure has been plagued by injury issues. Aldo has been forced to withdraw from several scheduled title defenses in the past and has made just six Octagon appearances since 2011.
The 27-year-old Brazilian successfully defended his title against Mendes in their first matchup on his home turf at UFC 142. Aldo sent his Brazilian brethren into a frenzy when he finished Mendes in the late stages of the first round after landing a devastating knee to the face. It remains the only blemish of Mendes’ career.
“Money” has been a destructive force since that defeat, going 5-0 with four knockouts. Mendes was quite confident that the result was going to be much different this time around at Staples Center, but now that chance at revenge will have to wait.
Aldo has been running roughshod over the competition in the 145-pound division, making other successful title defenses against Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, Frankie Edgar, Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas. His most recent effort was a unanimous decision victory over “The Bully” at UFC 169 back in February.
He originally captured the WEC featherweight strap by knocking out Mike Brown and made successful defenses against Urijah Faber and Manny Gamburyan before being elevated to UFC champion. Aldo has reeled off 17 consecutive victories and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2005.
It’s definitely a major blow for the UFC to lose a fight of this magnitude. This year has been a very frustrating one for both the organization and its fans with so many UFC champions sidelined by injuries. Aldo vs. Mendes 2 had the makings of being an outstanding matchup but will now have to wait after the injury bug hits again.
It’ll be very interesting to see what matchup gets selected to serve as the new main event for the Aug. 2 card.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports