Weidman delays UFC title defense


UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman suffered a knee injury in training, forcing his scheduled title defense against Lyoto Machida to be postponed.

Weidman was to fight Machida at UFC 173 on May 24 at MGM Grand. The fight is now expected to headline UFC 175 on July 5 at Mandalay Bay.

The injury will require minor surgery, according to a release issued by the UFC on Monday afternoon.

“Have to get minor surgery and push the fight back to July 4th weekend,” Weidman posted on Twitter. “Really excited about this fight. Thanks for all the well wishes!”

The organization is expected to name a new main event for UFC 173 in the coming days.

As it stands now, the top fight on the card is a heavyweight bout between Stipe Miocic and former champion Junior dos Santos.

■ HENDERSON ENDS SKID — Dan Henderson may not be the same fighter he was when he captured two Pride titles a decade ago, but the 43-year-old still has a deadly right hand.

Henderson ended a three-fight skid with a devastating knockout of former light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of a UFC card in Brazil on Sunday night.

The crushing blow broke Rua’s nose and left him badly bloodied on the canvas.

Henderson said the slide that left him out of immediate title contention freed him enough from the pressure to perform at his best.

“Now I get to come out and have fun, and that’s what I did tonight,” said Henderson, whose last win was a 2011 decision victory over Rua in what was generally considered the best fight of that year.

Henderson was rocked by punches from Rua in each of the first two rounds. He downplayed the fact that he was on the verge of being knocked out on those occasions.

Henderson did express relief at ending his losing streak, though.

“It feels great to get that out of the way,” he said. “I feel like a big weight is off me. I finally got rid of the bad year I had last year and look forward to having a good one this year.”

Also on the card, C.B. Dollaway knocked out Cezar Ferreira in the first round of a middleweight bout. It was one of six first-round finishes on the card.

■ CHOPE PULLED, RELEASED — The UFC canceled a featherweight fight between Will Chope and Diego Brandao just hours before it was scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Chope was subsequently released from his contract with the organization.

Bleacher Report published a story Saturday night detailing Chope’s discharge from the Air Force in 2009 for assaulting his wife.

“Tonight’s featherweight bout between Will Chope and Diego Brandao has been canceled after UFC officials were made aware of Chope’s previous military conviction,” read a statement released by the UFC on Sunday. “The UFC does not condone behavior of this nature whatsoever and Chope has been released from his contract.”

According to court documents obtained by Bleacher Report, Chope threatened his wife with a knife and silenced her cries with a pillow or blanket during an argument about a joint credit card in November 2009.

Chope, who had lost his UFC debut in January, issued a statement on Facebook.

“My fight has been canceled for a 5-year-old mistake I made,” Chope wrote. “I am truly sorry to all the fans and will do everything I can to make this right.

“I have spoken with my ex-wife on the phone and she supports what I am doing and together we will make a formal press release as soon as I get back to the USA on Wednesday.”

Brandao was paid both his show and win money. The organization said he will be placed in a new fight as soon as possible.

■ GUILLARD RELEASED — Melvin Guillard, 30, was released from his UFC contract last week after a disappointing performance in a loss to Michael Johnson earlier this month.

Guillard went 12-9 in the UFC since signing in 2005 after an appearance on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

■ LOCAL EVENTS — A busy weekend is on tap as two fight events with national interest take place at Hard Rock Hotel.

Lion Fight 14, a muay thai event headlined by former Strikeforce women’s champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino, will take place Friday night.

World Series of Fighting moves into the venue on Saturday with an event featuring a pair of title fights.

Justino, who is going back and forth between muay thai fights and mixed martial arts competition, will fight Jorina Baars on Friday. She recently detailed plans to begin cutting to 135 pounds in an effort to get a UFC deal and eventually fight champion Ronda Rousey.

WSOF 9 is headlined by welterweight champion Steve Carl defending the belt against UFC veteran Rousimar Palhares. Marlon Moraes will fight Josh Rettinghouse to determine the organization’s first bantamweight champion.

Also on the card, former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami will make his WSOF debut against Svetlozar Savov.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

 

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