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Tim Kennedy vs Some Guy headlines the UFC’s Fight for the Troops

With Michael Bisping’s eyeball inconveniently spewing blood everywhere, the UFC had to find someone else to headline their October UFC Fight Night card in Manchester. Their solution? Lyoto Machida, a choice that has unsurprisingly led to much gnashing of disgusting British teeth. But while Machida may not be a fan favorite, he’s still a former champion. Remember the Machida Era? Okay, more like the Machida Almost-Entire-Year, but the dude still has legit headliner cred.

A consequence of this switch up: moving Machida to Manchester left his original opponent Tim Kennedy in a lurch too. They were supposed to headline a November 6th UFC: Fight for the Troops card at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. And after a few days of Tim Kennedy humorously challenging half the middleweights in the UFC to fight over twitter, the UFC has announced his replacement. And man, I wish Tim had worked a bit harder at goading someone good into fighting him because boy is their choice underwhelming: Rafael Natal.

If you’re not from Belo Horizonte or an undercard obsessive MMA neckbeard, chances are you have no idea who that is. To refresh your memory, Rafael Natal last graced the octagon in September for the Teixiera vs Bader card in Brazil. He was part of the only decision on the main card, a sloppy back and forth with Tor Troeng that was awarded Fight of the Night due to his hometown crowd eating that shit up. If this card was in Brazil, Natal would be a decent if not downright inspired choice. But it’s not. It’s in Kentucky.

UFC fans being UFC fans, we’ve let the UFC know we are not impress wit der performhance in setting up this replacement headliner fight. Some have even gone so far as to make Kanye West style declarations that the UFC doesn’t care about the troops! A less sensationalist possibility: this fight is exactly five weeks away and Natal was the best bad choice available. He may not be famous, but he did say yes.

Poor Joe Silva pulls rabbits out of his asshole so often that people often forget how magical that shit is. How about we cut him some slack if once in a while he reaches up there and pulls out a turd. And in the grand scheme of things, how will this main event downgrade on a Wednesday night card really affect anything? Green Beret Tim Kennedy still fights a foreigner in front of the troops, with the added bonus that this is one he can actually beat. In that way, I think the show is actually gonna be a lot better.

(Natal’s almost-KO moment of glory from UFC Fight Night: Teixiera vs Bader)

Michael Bisping’s eye is really messed up

A detatched retina is a scary injury to suffer from to begin with, but Michael Bisping’s detatched retina is on a whole other level. The guy fought through two fights with it before finally having it re-attached. And then four weeks before his big UK fight with Mark Munoz his eye situation went pearshaped again in a bad way, and the surgery went even worse:

During the second surgery, surgeons discovered an influx of scar tissue that had developed around the damaged retina. As a result, they were not only forced to cut away the scar tissue, but remove a piece of Bisping’s retina as well.

When Bisping awoke from under the knife, he learned the situation was far more dire than first expected. Best case scenario, it’d be at least three months before Bisping could even begin to think about exercising. Worse case, his career might be over.

Even now after the surgery, the eye continues to do all sorts of scary shit like this:

“I was having a good time, and then all of a sudden, my vision just completely went in my right eye,” Bisping said. “It’s (usually) very blurry, but this time it completely went. I kind of got concerned. I called it a night and drove home, and as I drove home it just got worse and worse. When I got home, I was pretty much blind in my right eye. My girlfriend, when she looked at me, she almost started crying, she said, because my eye had filled up with blood. The iris, the colored part, was no longer blue. It was all red.

“I thought, that’s it. Fight career over. This and that, I’m blind in my eye.”

On the advice of doctors, Bisping slept face down Saturday night. When he awoke, most of the blood had drained out of his suddenly blue again eye — just another lesson about the fragility of his current state.

This doesn’t sound like the kind of injury you can just slap a textbook X number of weeks on and expect Bisping to show up at the end exactly like he was before. Let’s hope everyone involved – the fighter, the doctors, the UFC, the commission – makes sure that this eye is properly fixed up and Michael is capable of competing in a physically demanding sport like MMA without the risk of going fucking blind.

Cat Zingano just injured her *other* knee

Goddamn knees!

“Cat is now three months out from her right knee anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction,” explains Dr. Ronald S. Kvitne of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, in a new video released on Cat Zingano’s Facebook page last night. “She’s three months out, her knee looks great. She’s got almost perfect motion, she’s got great strength, she’s got excellent stability. Her bulk has come back on the thigh and the calf muscles. So, she’s about three months from getting back in the ring and starting to spar for an upcoming fight.”

“The only problem is, the other knee, the left knee, appears to have somewhere along the line gotten into trouble with a medial meniscus tear. So we’re gonna confirm that today with an MRI scan. If she does have a torn meniscus, she’ll need an arthroscopy surgery fairly quickly, so she can get back on track with the rehab. We think that within three months from now she can be back in the ring training, sparring, so that hopefully [she'll be] fighting in about four to six months from now…in terms of the recovery of the right knee, she’s absolutely perfect on track, the left knee is throwing a little bit of a monkey wrench into things. If it is torn, we can fix that and have you rehabbed in three months, that quick and no problem.”

I suppose we can’t complain too much. A decade ago, these kind of knee injuries were career finishers. Now they take an athlete out for 10 months and we’re still bitching because that’s like two fights we miss! But for serious, the day doctors figure out how to stop muscles from snapping off knees will be a good day for all sports indeed. God really screwed things up when he went with this flimsy human design.

Check out this vid of Anthony Pettis’ lil brother Sergio beating James Porter on Saturday night to improve his record to 9-0. We’ve gushed about Sergio on Fightlinker before, and we always finish up our posts wondering when the Pettis brothers will be reunited under the UFC umbrella. Sergio is apparently doing the same – during the post-fight interview, he declared “Dana White, I’m ready!”

At 19 years old and without any wins over UFC veterans, Joe Silva may disagree. But I’m just gonna keep hyping up the SergioMania until he does arrive to take the UFC’s bantamweight division by storm. Plus it’s another opportunity to post this gif:

SergioMania inducing highlight vid after the jump.

*UPDATE!* SIGNED!

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Watch Wanderlei Silva go after Chael Sonnen

The last time Chael Sonnen got into mouthing off Wanderlei Silva, Wand got in his face and told him to show some goddamn hespect. You’d think Chael would have learned something from that encounter – ie Silva isn’t going to quietly take that shit. But that hasn’t stopped The West Linn Gangster from trashing The Axe Murderer every chance he gets, and this weekend it all came to a head at the Mr Olympia Expo in Las Vegas.

Not only did Wanderlei surprise Chael and get all up in his grill, he had a cameraman along to film the whole thing. And afterwards he had a rambly two minute rant that can be summed up in three major points:

1. I scared the fuck out of you today
2. I’m going to mess you up when we fight, for serious
3. I’m going to do it for My People

Sooooo. Does this mean they’re going to fight now? Sometime in the spring? Unless Rashad Evans beats Chael in November? Ugh why can’t I just go into a coma until this fucking thing happens.

On the plus side, this does give us enough time to potentially see several more Wand ambush videos.

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