It seems UFC 178 just is not meant to be the blockbuster event everybody had it pegged as since way back in March, when Alexander Gustafsson reclaimed his #1 contender’s slot with a success over Jimi Manuwa. Few saw Jon Jones’ April name defense against Glover Teixeira as more than a mere detour on the road to Jones/Gustafsson two, and the masses were correct. Even though it took a while to choose a certain date and venue, the bout was highly expected whenever and where it would occur. Then, all of a sudden, Alexander Gustafsson was forced to drop out of this fight with a torn meniscus. No issue, in stepped Daniel Cormier to take his own position and the MMA planet was even more enthusiastic. Then the notorious media day brawl took place, and UFC 178 became a must-watch occasion for more than simply the MMA community. It had the type of buzz that few UFC events garner, and likely would have been the biggest grossing light heavyweight bout because Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans back at UFC 114. Of course, things rarely ever go to plan in MMA, as well as the backup plans fall through occasionally. Jon Jones declared yesterday that he too was injured in training and forced from UFC 178. The organization has tentatively rescheduled Jones and Cormier to headline UFC 182 in January, where they will likely share the card with Ronda Rousey at a yearlong (or starting) card that hearkens back to the times of piled events across the New Year. The one issue with all of this yet, is that this was assumed to be Alexander Gustafsson’s battle all along, and from January he will probably be ready to go. Will the UFC really forego what could be another classic involving Jones and Gustafsson for its dollar signs seemingly evident for Jones and Cormier? It will be interesting to see how this plays out during the upcoming few weeks, but early indications are that the Swede is going to wind up a very unhappy camper. Obviously in MMA news when it rains, it pours, and it was a busy day outside of the Jones injury. UFC 177 and flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson believed the domino effect from the injury, as his title defense against Chris Cariaso will be moving to the main event of UFC 178. Understanding that lovers will be frustrated with all the shift, Johnson tweeted (tongue-in-cheek),”Bad: You’ll have to wait a little more time to see me triumph again. Good: I’m the new UFC 178 headliner. Bout time that card gets a real principal event.” To fill out UFC 177, the company has gathered a bout between a set of highly touted winners in the regional circuit. Former Bellator and Tachi Palace Fights champion Joe Soto will compete just three weeks after his latest bout, and he’ll be taking on former MFC champion Anthony Birchak in a few of the better conflicts between UFC newcomers that has been made in 2014. The bantamweights will probably complete a place on the UFC Fight Pass prelims. Soto’s old marketing also announced a set of bouts yesterday, as heavy hitters Doug Marshall and Melvin Manhoef will headline Bellator 125 on September 19th. Although this bout is of almost zero significance in any kind of divisional rankings, it should be violent and fun for however long it lasts. Following in the same mold is the co-main occasion on the card featuring Brian Rogers and James Irvin, just two of the men discovered on any highlight reel of flying in MMA history. Betting lines will likely lean towards Manhoef and Rogers in their respective bouts, as they are the more talented strikers in what should be completely striking contests. A pair of AXS TV promotions declared upcoming bouts too, together with Legacy FC 37 being headlined by two of its former champions, Leonard Garcia and Daniel Pineda. Garcia just lost his featherweight belt to Damon Jackson at Legacy FC 33, and Pineda — a former lightweight and featherweight champ in the promotion — was just re-signed after being cut from the UFC. It’s quite likely that Jackson is going to be signed to the UFC earlier this bout occurs on November 14th, and if that is the case this could establish a new champion too. After Garcia’s rapid loss in his final outing, expect the public to favor Pineda, and he will probably open as a small favorite. RFA continues their tour across the Western United States as RFA 18 takes place at Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 12th. The event will be headlined by flyweight champion Matt Manzanares defends his belt against undefeated Albuquerque native Joby Sanchez. Sanchez just knocked off Antonio Banuelos a week at Tachi Palace Fights 20, and will probably be carrying this bout on just over a month’s notice. This line must be close, however, the people can push it slightly towards Manzanares because he’s the more well-known of the two.
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