Yesterday evening, the UFC announced that a broken foot has forced James Irvin to pull out from his UFC 85 match against Rashad Evans. Though UFC.com first reported that Luiz Cane would be stepping up to replace Irvin, a finalized card was released shortly after, which didn’t include Evans at all. The undercard fight between Nate Marquardt and Thales Leites has now been moved to the main pay-per-view card.
Anyway, that’s a bummer — I had high hopes for the Irvin/Evans match-up, as their conflicting styles could have produced some exciting results. But Evans is better off not being on the card at this point. Having to train for another new opponent (he was originally slated to fight Chuck Liddell) wouldn’t be fair to him with less than a month until the show, and historically, situations like that tend not to go well. Still, how cursed is this card? First it was Mauricio Rua with an injured knee. Then Liddell with a torn hammy. Then Chris Leben with his probation violation. Good Lord, is the O2 Arena built on an Indian burial ground or something?
In other UFC news:
— Early reports have UFC 88 slated for September 6th in Atlanta, GA. It would be the first time the UFC was held in the state of Georgia since UFC 13 in May 1997.
— TUF 6 alum Blake Bowman (remember, the guy who Mac Danzig used to mercilessly make fun of?) won his professional MMA debut on Friday, at the same event that produced the already-legendary double-K.O. involving Tyler Bryan and Shaun Parker. Facing Kevin Walker, who was also making his professional debut, Bowman won a TKO victory in just eight seconds, landing a head kick right at the bell and following it up with a punch that put Walker out.
— According to recent announcements and promotional materials, Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Coleman will not be the official main event of UFC 87. Could a headlining title fight be possible? GSP and Anderson Silva don’t have anything scheduled yet…