(“Wait, so Ross Pearson’s not on this card anymore? F*ck it, I’m not going.” — Nobody. / Photo via Getty)
UFC officials confirmed this morning that Ross Pearson has pulled out of his lightweight do-over fight against Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa (March 8th, London) due to a knee injury suffered in training. Details about the exact nature and recovery time of Pearson’s injury are scarce, though Pearson claims that he’ll require surgery.
I know what you’re thinking: Does this mean that Ilir Latifi vs. Cyrille Diabate gets bumped up to the UFC Fight Night 37 co-main event? LOL, of course not. Luckily, the UFC has already found a replacement for Pearson — Michael Johnson, who’s coming off an impressive knockout of Gleison Tibau at UFC 168, and has been calling out Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov since then in an attempt to land a big fight. And while those call-outs may have been slightly premature, a decisive win against Guillard could go a long way in making Johnson’s case as a contender worthy of top competition.
Johnson vs. Guillard has a personal hook to it as well. The two hard-hitting 155′ers were Blackzilian training partners for a while, until Guillard left the crew. A few months later, Guillard took some shots at Johnson on Twitter for no apparent reason. Your predictions for this one, please.
“Gustafsson vs. Manuwa” will air on UFC Fight Pass (unfortunately), and will also feature Brad Pickett vs. Ian McCall and the return of Gunnar Nelson.