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)