A slew of injuries have hit The Ultimate Fighting Championship recently, causing major shakeup to upcoming events. We told you about Vitor Belfort's situation last week, resulting in a Wanderlei Silva-Rich Franklin rematch, and now there's more.
Brian Stann was set to face former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard in the main event at UFC on Fox 4, but Stann is now out 6-8 weeks with a shoulder injury.
Therefore, Lombard, who will be making his UFC debut, has been moved to the UFC 149 card to face Tim Boetsch. Michael Bisping was slotted to face Boetch but the Brit pulled out with an undisclosed injury.
Former light heavyweight champ Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua was originally scheduled to take on Thiago Silva at UFC 149, but Silva was sidelined due to his recurring back issues. This allowed UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to move Rua into the main event for UFC on Fox 4 to take on Brandon Vera.
This is a great opportunity for Vera, who was cut by the promotion following his third straight loss to Thiago Silva back at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day in 2011. But after Silva falsified a postfight urine sample, the loss was changed to a no-contest, prompting the UFC to give Vera another shot.
‘The Truth’ responded with a unanimous-decision victory over Eliot Marshall at UFC 137 last October. After winning his first four fights for the organization, Vera is 4-5-1 in his last 10 Octagon appearances.
Rua, who will be heavily favored when the books release a number, is coming off a Fight of the Year loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 139.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Bookmaker.com has released numbers for a pair of a potential fights. Junior dos Santos is a minus-135 favorite versus Cain Velasquez, who is a plus-105 underdog. JDS won the heavyweight title from Velasquez with a first-round KO last November. Dos Santos successfully defended his title for the first time against Frank Mir at UFC 146, while Velasquez bounced back from his first career loss to destroy Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva on the same card.
--The other future fight that’s not official yet is Johny Hendricks vs. Martin ‘Hitman’ Kampmann. Bookmaker.com has Hendricks as a minus-130 ‘chalk’ with Kampmann at even money. Hendricks recently beat Josh Koscheck by split decision in a fight I thought ‘Kos’ won. Kampmann rallied from a vicious beating from Jake Ellenberger in Round 1 to win by second-round TKO last weekend.
--5Dimes has Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira installed as a minus-175 ‘chalk’ vs. Cheick Kongo in their UFC 149 showdown.
--Alexander Gustafsson, a rising star in the light heavyweight division, denied rumors this week that he'd sustained a broken hand. Gustafsson told MMAJunkie.com that he's targeting a return to the Octagon sometime late this summer. The Swede has won five consecutive fights.
--Kenny Florian, who fought for a UFC belt three times during a distinguished career, retired last week.
--Three former boxing champions have retired in the last week: Winky Wright, Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito.
--As of early Friday afternoon, most books were listing Manny Pacquiao as a minus-475 favorite for Saturday's fight against unbeaten Timothy Bradley, who is a plus-375 underdog (risk $100 to win $375).
Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For daily sports gambling analysis, follow Brian Edwards on twitter at Vegasbedwards.
To check out more content from Brian, go to BrianEdwardsSports.com