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Anthony Pettis Out of UFC on FOX 9 Main Event With Knee Injury; Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 Named as New Headliner


(Pettis perfectly executes an off-the-cage “Showtime Gloat.” / Photo via Getty)

Over the weekend, UFC president Dana White revealed that lightweight champion Anthony Pettis had suffered a knee injury in training, but was still expected to defend his belt against Josh Thomson in the main event of UFC on FOX 9 (December 14th, Sacramento). “He’s going to fight,” White said. “For sure.”

Well, not really. UFC officials announced last night that Pettis has pulled out of the match. We have no details on the nature or severity of Showtime’s injury at this time, or if it’s related to the knee injury that pushed Pettis out of UFC 163 back in June. We’ll keep you posted.

The UFC plans to re-book Pettis vs. Thomson when the champ is recovered, but you never know with these things. Thomson was already the second choice for Pettis’s UFC on FOX 9 opponent after TJ Grant had to stay sidelined due to concussion. If Grant is healthy by the time Pettis is, the UFC might just do Pettis vs. Grant like they had originally planned. Meanwhile, Josh Thomson’s immediate future is in limbo, and the famously cursed fighter just saw the biggest opportunity of his career go up in smoke. [Ed. note: We'll start working on his illustrated timeline.]

Pettis’s injury has led to new main events for two upcoming cards…

— UFC on FOX 9 will now be headlined by the flyweight title fight rematch between Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, which was originally scheduled to headline the TUF 18 Finale on November 30th.

— The TUF 18 Finale rubber-match between Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard will now serve as that event’s headliner. Due to the relative short-notice of the switch, the match will remain scheduled for three rounds.

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