(At first he claimed to have other plans that night, but no one was buying that.)
The fates of Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck are indeed intertwined in mysterious ways. The UFC sent out a release today announcing that Diego Sanchez has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 90 bout with Thiago Alves due to torn rib cartilage. Stepping in to face Alves on short notice will be Sanchez’s TUF 1 buddy, Josh Koscheck.
From the official release:
“There is nothing worse than having a great fight and then having one of the fighters drop out at the last second,” said UFC President Dana White. “But the one thing the UFC has proven time and time again is our ability to replace fights with ones as good as or better than the original fight, and we’ve done it again with the highly-ranked Josh Koscheck stepping up to replace Diego Sanchez against welterweight wrecking machine Thiago Alves. Hats off to Josh and Thiago, as not many fighters would agree to a matchup this tough on such short notice.”
“Josh Koscheck is a great fighter and I think he’s an even better matchup for me,” said Alves. “I’m looking forward to fighting him, and I’m gonna knock him out.”
“I think he’s a tough opponent,” said Koscheck. “He’s on a tear right now in the UFC and for me to step up and fight him, I think it’s gonna be an exciting fight. I’ve been in training since Chris Lytle, I haven’t taken any time off, and he’s a tough guy, so I’ve got to come in and fight him at my ‘A’ game.”
Alves is a tough opponent to step in against on short notice, but how could Koscheck resist such a golden opportunity to grind salt in Sanchez’s torn rib cartilage? The only thing worse than having to pull out of a big fight is having a rival swoop in and take it.
As late replacements go, Koscheck probably makes the most possible sense. Instead of throwing Alves against someone far lower on the welterweight totem pole, he gets someone at right about the same level. This bout, in terms of both quality of competition and future ramifications on the division, has simply made a lateral move. How many times have we been able to say that?