(Ben Saunders: 170 pounds of knees, elbows, and unfortunate facial hair.)
With Thiago Alves out of UFC 111 due to brain irregularities, the UFC has tapped Ben Saunders to take on Jon Fitch just two days before the event. This means that Jake Ellenberger, who was originally scheduled to face Saunders as a replacement for the nauseatingly-wounded Martin Kampmann, is now screwed out of the fight he worked his tail off to prepare for. The upside is, he’s reportedly still getting his show and win money, all for doing nothing more than being cool about the whole thing. Looks like the wings and beers at a Newark-area Hooters are on Ellenberger tonight.
So what does this new match-up mean, aside from more changes to our UFC 111 FightPicker? For Saunders, it means a chance to step up in the ranks with a more high-profile victory. TMZ reports that Dana White has said he’ll give Saunders a title shot if he beats Fitch, which seems like a move that would sure piss off Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley with a quickness. Fitch has less to gain with a win over Saunders than with one over Alves, but at least he can call up his AKA teammate Mike Swick to get some scouting info on the lanky striker.
Kudos to the UFC for making lemonade out of this unfortunate batch of irregular lemons. Guess it helps to have a roster of fighters willing to scramble their plans at the last minute to accommodate your wishes.