Booking bouts for a high-profile event like Saturday’s UFC 133 in Philadelphia is simple.
Actually having both fighters step into the ring? That’s another story entirely.
This weekend’s pay-per-view card was supposed to include Jon?Jones defending his light heavyweight title against Rashad Evans, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira facing Rich Franklin and Vladimir Matyushenko fighting Alex Gustafsson.
Due to an uncanny spate of injuries, none of those bouts will actually take place.
“It wasn’t difficult putting [the fight card] together,” UFC president Dana White said at Thursday’s prefight news conference. “It was difficult keeping it together.”
Instead of a title shot against Jones, Evans will be meeting last-minute fill-in Tito Ortiz. Both are former light heavyweight champions; White said Thursday that Evans will definitely receive a title shot with a win, though the resurgent Ortiz would likely have more work to do.
Evans and Ortiz met at UFC 73 in 2007.?That fight ended in a draw after Ortiz was docked a point for grabbing the cage.
Thursday, both emphasized the differences in their current styles, as compared to that bout.
“I’m a different person mentally, physically, emotionally,” Ortiz said. “I’m everything I?always wanted to be, for myself and for the UFC.”
Evans blamed a weak performance in his first go-round with?Ortiz on a lack of experience.
He’s been in six fights — five wins — since UFC 73, though injuries to himself and opponents have kept him out of the ring since beating Rampage Jackson in May 2010.