(‘And don’t let me catch you looking at my little sister again!’)
Good news for those of you who already bought your plane tickets to Abu Dhabi and have spent the last few weeks learning how to say, ‘Stand ‘em up!’ in Arabic. Despite losing Vitor Belfort to a shoulder injury, UFC 112 will still feature Anderson Silva fighting someone in the 185-pound range for a big hunk of shiny metal and leather. As Dana White recently told MMAFighting.com, Silva has not been pulled from the event just because his top challenger is out, and he’ll still be defending his belt (so abandon your hopes for a light heavyweight superfight, or a heavyweight super-superfight).
The question that has yet to be answered is, who will this opportunistic middleweight be?
The smart money is still on Chael Sonnen. He’s the kind of guy who might have just the right tough-to-reckless ratio to agree to the fight on two months’ notice, facial lacerations and shortened training camp be damned. If the fight were in the U.S., getting him medically cleared to fight might be an issue. Since it’s in Abu Dhabi, everything should be cool as long as his entourage doesn’t include a woman who knows how to read.
The flip side is, if Sonnen can’t take the fight and Belfort is out, any middleweight the UFC throws in there is going to look like the poorest of substitutes. Even Nate Marquardt, who would have seemed like a suitable replacement as recently as last Friday, couldn’t rightfully get the shot now without a great deal of howling from the fans.