Injuries are part and parcel of the sport of MMA and the UFC is no stranger to seeing a last-minute injury completely ruin one of their cards. Usually, the promotion manages to do something to save things, though – remember, for instance, the legendary Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight was only put together when Diaz replaced the injured Rafael dos Anjos.
Sometimes though things are unsalvageable – forcing the UFC to put together a main event that’s far weaker than the original at late notice. It’s nobody’s fault as such – it’s just part of the sport – but it’s always harsh to the fans that spent money to attend the show live.
Here are 5 examples of a UFC main event that was made far weaker due to injury replacements.
#1 UFC Fight Night 137 – 09/22/18
Original main event: Jimi Manuwa vs. Glover Teixeira
Replacement main event: Thiago Santos vs. Eryk Anders
We begin with this weekend’s upcoming card. It’s unfair to slate Santos vs. Anders at this stage as it could turn out to be the best fight of the year, but on paper at least it’s definitely far weaker than the originally planned clash between top ten Light-Heavyweight contenders Jimi Manuwa and Glover Teixeira.
Midway through August, it was announced that Teixeira would be unable to compete due to a nagging shoulder injury, which left Manuwa without an opponent.
Despite 205lbers Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Sam Alvey fighting on the undercard, the UFC instead pegged Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos – who usually fights at 185lbs – as the replacement fighter.
After some negotiations, the fight was signed, but earlier this week it was announced that Manuwa had torn his hamstring and thus would be out of the fight too. His replacement? Eryk Anders, another fighter more used to fighting at Middleweight.
And so we’ve ended up with an odd situation indeed – a fight at 205lbs between two fighters more suited to 185lbs in the main event of a UFC show. Hopefully, it’ll be exciting!