Weidman out of UFC 184; Rousey-Zingano moves to main event
MANILA, Philippines – A major blow has hit the UFC 184 pay-per-view event on February 28 (March 1 in PH) as a rib injury forced middleweight champion Chris Weidman to withdraw from his title tilt with perennial contender Vitor Belfort.
Ultimate Fighting Championship officials confirmed Weidman's pullout on Saturday morning, January 31 after an initial report by MMAJunkie.com.
It is the third time that a scheduled Weidman-Belfort duel has fallen through due to various reasons.
Both men were supposed to face each other at UFC 173 in May of last year, but Belfort threw in the towel as early as February when the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban testosterone replacement therapy from combat sports.
After Weidman successfully defended his world title against replacement Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 in July, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization rebooked his marquee match-up with Belfort for UFC 183 this past December.
However, the championship clash did not materialize once again as Weidman suffered a hand injury in training.
In an interview on AXS TV’s “Inside MMA” show, UFC president Dana White disclosed that Belfort is still part of the fight card, which takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
“It has been a crazy week. Vitor [Belfort] isn’t off the card yet,” White said. “I’m still working on options.”
As a result of the unfortunate incident, UFC 184 will now be headlined by a women’s bantamweight title showdown between current champion Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano.
Rousey is coming off a 16-second demolition of Alexis Davis at July’s UFC 175 to stretch her unbeaten record to ten matches.
Aside from Davis, the 27-year-old “Rowdy” also owns triumphs over Sara McMann, Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche inside the Octagon.
At the age of 17, Rousey emerged as one of the top female Judokas in the world, giving her the opportunity to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Four years later, she captured the bronze medal at the Beijing Games, becoming the first American to win an Olympic medal in women's judo bracket since its inception as an Olympic sport in 1992.
Rousey turned her attention to prizefighting in March 2011 and spearheaded her MMA career with eight-straight victories by armbar submission.
After moving up in the ranks to claim the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight belt, she was hailed as the inaugural UFC female titleholder in November 2012 when the promotion was purchased by the UFC.
On the other hand, Zingano (9-0) made a triumphant return from a 17-month layoff by thwarting Amanda Nunes via third-round technical knockout at UFC 178 in September.
The 32-year-old Zingano initially earned the right to vie for the 135-pound division’s top prize when she scored a third-round stoppage win over former Strikeforce titlist Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter 17 season finale in April 2013, but a knee injury as well as the loss of her husband prevented her from capitalizing on the title shot. - Rappler.com