Saturday, September 29, 2012

Frankie Edgar steps in to face Jose Aldo in now enthralling UFC 153 main event

For the second time in a week, the challenger in a UFC title fight had to pull out of a bout with an injury.

This time around, though, it was a far simpler process with much less drama in finding a replacement.

As first reported late Thursday by MMA, Erik Koch is injured and out of his featherweight title fight with Jose Aldo that is scheduled for Oct. 13 at HSBC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will step up to face him.

UFC president Dana White confirmed the switch in a text with Yahoo! Sports. White said Koch had injured a knee in training. He was disappointed to lose Koch, but praised Edgar in comments made earlier Thursday to MMA Junkie's John Morgan.

Obviously, we've had a rough couple of weeks here at the UFC, and then sure enough, I walk in to work today, and Erik Koch is hurt. But Frankie Edgar, being the stud and the warrior that he is, steps up and accepts this fight.

Last week, a major controversy arose when Dan Henderson pulled out of a light heavyweight title fight against champion Jon Jones scheduled for Sept. 1 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. White arranged to Chael Sonnen to replace Henderson, but Jones declined. He said he didn't want to fight a different opponent with such little practice time.

As a result, the event was canceled and Jones will now defend the belt against Vitor Belfort on Sept. 22 in Toronto at UFC 152.

No such issues existed this time around, though. Edgar lost his lightweight title to Benson Henderson at UFC 144 in Japan in February, then dropped a hotly disputed decision in the rematch on Aug. 11 at UFC 150 in Denver.

For years, White and fans had lobbied for Edgar to drop to the 145-pound class. Edgar barely needed to cut weight to make lightweight's 155-pound limit. But Edgar had always resisted, given he was winning.

But after losing back-to-back bouts and knowing that another shot at the lightweight title would be a long way off, he jumped at the chance to face Aldo.

The Aldo-Edgar match now pits the Nos. 3 and 7 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, according to the Yahoo! Sports rankings.


Lorenzo Borgomeo  Kyle Bradley  Jai Bradney  Ebenezer Fontes Braga Chris Brennan Marcelo Brito 

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