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UFC 199: Weidman out of main event due to injury; search for replacement underway

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If you were looking forward to the main event middleweight title rematch at UFC 199 between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman – you’re going to have to wait. Weidman has withdrawn from the bout due to an injury to the neck/shoulder area according to @TalkMMA who was the first to tweet about the potential change at the top of the card. The news was later confirmed by FloCombat’s Jeremy Botter.

The UFC is actively seeking a replacement opponent for Rockhold in the main event of the evening. Here’s the short list they’re likely looking at:

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: Souza has won 9 of his last 10 since losing his Strikeforce middleweight title to Rockhold via unanimous decision back in 2011. His last win came this past weekend in Brazil over a deflated Vitor Belfort. He didn’t have to work too hard so he should be good to go on short notice. This is the rematch the middleweight division deserves.

Michael Bisping: That tweet says it all. Bisping is ready and with his third straight win since losing to Rockhold coming against Anderson Silva, there’s no better time than now to give him his first first title shot. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the man can promote a fight like no other. There’s no one better in the division to hype this fight on just over 2 weeks notice.

Yoel Romero: Although marred by controversy for various reasons, Romero holds an impressive 7-0 record under the UFC banner with his latest win coming over the aforementioned Jacare.

If Weidman’s injury isn’t serious, this could be a blessing in disguise for the former champ. Go ahead and slot him in at UFC 205 in New York against the winner of Rockhold vs. TBA.

UPDATE: Word around the campfire is that “Jacare” has a banged up knee post UFC 198 and Romero will not be cleared until July. That leaves Bisping on the short list and opens things up to a potential dark horse.

The names Robert Whittaker and Uriah Hall are being bandied about as we speak. Hall should be ready to go after having his fight against Anderson Silva taken off UFC 198. Whittaker is riding on a 5-fight win streak which includes a win over Hall. Also, Gegard Mousasi could be in the running as well. If MMA math is still a thing – Hall holds a win over Mousasi and Whittaker holds a win over Hall making Whittaker the front runner on that end. Stay tuned.

cover image credit – AP Photo/Seth Wenig

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