The UFC’s December 15th event, scheduled for Las Vegas, Nevada and labelled ‘The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale’, has lost it’s main event featuring the coaches, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, due to a severe knee injury Carwin sustained. It is another in a long line of unfortunate injuries the UFC must deal with, as it would obviously have been optimal for them that Carwin win, thrusting the 37 year old back into the title picture after more than eighteen months on the sidelines. Carwin was a -200 favorite at the sportsbooks, and there really does not appear to be anyone who could put Nelson at that disadvantage anywhere on the horizon.
The UFC is looking for a replacement to face Nelson. The main thing to consider in this mess is that the UFC was hoping to use Nelson’s name recognition to revitalize Carwin. Having Nelson win does not really affect the title picture. So who out there could beat Nelson?
The STRIKEFORCE roster presents several possibilities, and for the sake of contracts, politics and bullshit, the UFC is unlikely to use either.
The obvious is to bring in Daniel Cormier, the SF champion who has a match scheduled against a tough training partner in January (check my blog about SF at http://blog.betdsi.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=13961&action=edit). Bringing him into the fold faster is a benefit to the UFC, but they apparently do not have the will to work with the SF roster.
Another intriguing idea would be SF #2 Heavyweight Josh Barnett. A former UFC Champion, Barnett currently does not have a match scheduled and he far and away represents the most talented free agent type Heavyweight out there.
Another option may be former UFC Champion Andrei Arlovski. He is still only 33 years old, he is 3-0-1 in his last few fights, and he owns a win over Roy Nelson. The added bonus for the UFC, who has proven to be hyper aggressive in the past against their competition, and Arlovski is potentially under contract for new popup Word Series of Fighting, who hosted his last fight. Stealing an asset from WSOF, who had the audacity to do a show in Las Vegas, would suit the egos at UFC.
Of the three, Arlovski is the one fighter who would probably be an underdog against Nelson. Despite his previous win, Nelson has come a long way since their October 2008 meeting, and Arlovski still has questions around his chin and ground game that Nelson might exploit.
Let’s see what the UFC puts together for Nelson. Or maybe they can just cancel another show….