The great UFC 146 shake up: who has missed out?
Alistair Overeem - juiced up? (Image: UFC)
When UFC 146 was first announced, it was the card that seemed too good to be believed.
The headline was a title fight between current champion Junior Dos Santos (14-1) and highly decorated fighter Alistair Overeem (36-11 (1 NC)). For support, four heavyweight fights to determine the remainder of the pecking order.
Dreams of the perfect card began to slightly fall apart when it was announced that Overeem had failed a pre-fight drug test and was subsequently handed a nine-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
In order for the card to survive a shakeup had to occur, and sent various fighters and fans campaigning for the title shot.
Additionally, two weeks ago, Australian and New Zealand favourite Mark Hunt (8-7) had to drop out due to injury.
What we now have is still a great card which focuses on the heavyweights in somewhat different match-ups to the original plan. The UFC matchmakers have done well to ensure that the initial theme of the card continued through the adversity it faced.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the quality has disappeared. These heavyweights are here to entertain and create massive implications to the divisional landscape.
Fighters who were favourites for title chances may miss out as names move up and down the ladder.
In a sport where mind-share and performance in a fight increases your likelihood of reaching a title bout, we look at those who are affected the most in the game of UFC 146′s musical chairs.
The man who started it all, Alistair Overeem, doesn’t really have to worry about the movements of the division at this point with nine months’ suspension which has been backdated to March; it will be the New Year’s card before he can even consider fighting with the promotion.
He shouldn’t expect a title bout first off, but it shouldn’t be too long into 2013 that he gets it.
For the injured Mark Hunt, it is he that truly misses out the greatest from the injury he suffered so close to the card.
With a large internet rally trying to purport him into the title bout, UFC President Dana White admitted that he has a couple of fights before he could be considered for a run at the title.
A win at UFC 146 could have seen Hunt facing a top-five fighter like Cain Velasquez (9-1) in his next bout. Now, with Lavar Johnson (17-5) fighting for the second time in a month, Hunt’s journey may be put on the backburner to make way for another star.
While all of this is happening, Daniel Cormier (10-0) who is the recently-crowned Strikeforce Heavyweight champion should be looking to make the jump to the UFC, given that he has a limited pool to fight against. But the strongest names in the Heavyweights are fighting over on this side.
With Overeem out, Cormier has the biggest to gain, with a strong chance of having at least one fight and then a title shot if he comes over.
Saturday, May 26 – Weigh-ins 9am on Fuel TV
Sunday, May 27 – Prelims: 9am on UFC Facebook, then 10am on Fuel TV. Main Card: 12pm on Main Event – all AEST
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