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Surgery sidelines UFC vets

Two veteran fighters elected to go under the knife in the hope it can extend whatever time they have left in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, 37, had surgery last week to repair a torn labrum, a procedure his manager deemed a “complete success.”

“I spoke with Rich. He’s feeling great, and as soon as the doctor gives him the go-ahead, he’s ready to start training again,” JT Stewart said in a statement. “If everything goes as expected, UFC fans could see Rich Franklin back in the Octagon in late summer.”

That’s close to the same target date set by heavyweight contender Shane Carwin.

The 36-year-old has fought just once since July 2010 after missing an extended amount of time due to neck surgery.

Now, he will require a back procedure. Carwin said his body “locked up” while he was training for a December bout against a still-unnamed opponent.

“I scheduled an MRI, and the results showed that my disc in my lower back is into the nerves,” Carwin wrote on his website. “My doctor gave me two options: retire and I could probably go on for a few years without surgery, or I could undergo surgery and continue my career.”

Carwin, who has lost two consecutive fights after beginning his career 12-0, said it was an easy decision.

He nearly knocked out Brock Lesnar in a heavyweight title bout in July 2010, but wore himself out trying to finish in the first round and was choked out in the second. After his neck surgery, he returned to lose a decision in a No. 1 contender bout to Junior dos Santos in July.

“I have unfinished business,” he wrote. “The UFC had me lined up to face one of the best in the world and I am confident I have everything I need to be a champion. I am scheduling surgery and I hope to return to the Octagon by spring or summer 2012.”

■ STRIKEFORCE-MELENDEZ — Despite UFC president Dana White’s recent statement about bringing Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez to the organization “ASAP,” Melendez will defend his title as planned.

Melendez will meet Jorge Masvidal on Dec. 17 in San Diego.

The card also will mark the return of Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, who faces Hiroko Yamanaka. Santos has not fought since June 2010.

Also, former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi will meet rising prospect Ovince St. Preux, a former Tennessee football player and brother of former UNLV football player Renan St. Preux.

■ BELLATOR — Las Vegas will be well-represented at Bellator 58.

The organization’s lightweight title fight between Las Vegan Michael Chandler and champion Eddie Alvarez has officially been rescheduled for the event, which is Nov. 19 in Hollywood, Fla.

Chandler, an undefeated 25-year-old who trains at Xtreme Couture, was due to fight Alvarez at Bellator 54 last week, but an injury to Alvarez postponed the fight.

Vitor Vianna, who trains under Wanderlei Silva for Wand Fight Team, will fight Alexander Shlemenko for the Season 5 middleweight tournament title.

Vianna and Shlemenko each advanced to the final with knockout victories on Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J.

Bellator will air live on MTV2 (Channel 372) each Saturday through Bellator 59 on Nov. 26.

■ SUPERIOR CAGE COMBAT — The organization will return to the Orleans Arena on Nov. 4 for Superior Cage Combat 3.

The event features a bout between former UFC competitors John Alessio and Rob Emerson, as well as Bristol Marunde taking on Elvis Mutapcic for the first SCC middleweight title.

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

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