By: Scott Yager
It appears that the string of AWESOME UFC PPV cards is going to end after UFC 118 next week in Boston. After Rampage vs, Rashad, Brock vs. Carwin and Silva vs. Sonnen all delivered as high caliber main events in the last few months it appears the 9/25 show will be the first “down card” in quite some time.
For a company that had been criticized for having lackluster cards in the middle of 3-4 really stacked ones during the year it seemed like Dana had really turned it around and started producing A-List PPVs one after another. The 9/25 show in Indy was set up to be built around the two Nogueira brothers, who were going to face Frank Mir and Ryan Bader respectively. However, Dana White just confirmed that the older of the two Nogueiras, Antonio Rodrigo aka “Minotauro” will NOT be able to compete against Frank Mir in the main event.
This fight was already set up to be one of the less intriguing main events that the company has put on in months, and now that you remove Nogueira it manages to get slightly less noteworthy. Noguiera will be replaced by Mirko Cro Cop, who upon his arrival to UFC and the US was met with great anticipation, most of which has been lost over the last few years of delivering very uninspiring performances. Recently though Cro Cop has worked his way back up the ranks with a few impressive victories, most notably with a choke out win over Pat Barry, someone he was expected to go down to.
Mir vs. Nogueira was by no means a fight that everyone was on the edge of their seat looking forward to. It seemed like a “break” between the huge cards of the summer and the very anticipated fight between Brock and Velasquez in October. The injury makes this show even more of a throwaway card, one that will probably be skipped by a ton of UFC fans who have dug deep into their pockets to afford the last several great shows. Next weekend is no exception either, with Randy Couture fighting boxer James Toney and BJ Penn getting a rematch over Frankie Edgar who upset him for the belt back in April. UFC fans might be looking forward to a show they don’t feel bad about missing, as Dana White has done a great job of putting together stacked card after stacked card.
The problem with the main event for the 9/25 show is that it is hard to believe that it could have any REAL implications when it comes to the heavyweight division’s storylines. Everyone knows that Dos Santos gets the winner of the October fight and that Shane Carwin is a more likely opponent for the winner of that than either Mir or Cro Cop. With Roy Nelson also coming out of UFC 117 looking like a contender it is hard to see Frank or Mirko jumping to the top of the ranks and seeing a title fight within a year. That being said though… ANYTHING is possible and if they go out there and have the fight of the year, WHO KNOWS!
When it comes to UFC, injuries have been known to change cards weeks and days before and that is something that comes with the hard work and training these guys put in to get ready for these fights. We should feel fortunate that for the most part none of the MAJOR fights over the past few months have been altered by unfortunate circumstances in the health department. Sure, Forrest Griffin would have made that semi-main event for the Rampage vs. Rashad show slightly more interesting but when you think about it, no major storylines have been severely altered by injuries since Brock went down last year.
Shogun isn’t going to be able to defend his title until next year and it looks like Anderson Silva is now out of commission until early 2011 as well. Luckily for us the heavyweight division seems to be moving like clockwork and between Brock vs. Cain in October and what SHOULD be a big show in December headlined by Koscheck and GSP, fight fans still have a lot to look forward to. Oh yea… AND it looks like Machida will take on Rampage in November. Even though Mir vs. Nogueira is off and Cro Cop is in…we still have a TON to look forward to in 2010, what is probably UFC’s hottest year ever so far!