UFC fighter Rashad Evans (L) will fight Tito Ortiz at UFC 133 on August 6, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa, LLC via Getty Images)

UFC 133: Rashad Evans Vs. Tito Ortiz

UFC 133 will be held on August 6, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event is headlined by a light heavyweight rematch between Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz.

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UFC 133: Evans Vs. Ortiz Updated Fight Card

Caught in the bizarre wake of an influx of injury withdrawals, UFC 133 is taking on a different look every week. 

Most recently, the marquee middleweight matchup between Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama has now been upgraded to co-main event status, following the removal of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Rich Franklin's light heavyweight bout from the card. Nogueira was scratched due to an injury suffered during training camp over the weekend. A day later Franklin was forced to withdraw after the UFC was unable to find a suitable replacement opponent.

Light heavyweight veteran Vladimir Matyushenko has also been scratched from a scheduled bout against Alexander Gustafsson due to an undisclosed injury sustained in training camp. "The Ultimate Fighter 3" alum Matt Hamill quickly signed on to fill the vacated spot.

‘UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz' will be held on August 6, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be headlined by a light heavyweight rematch between Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz. The two former champions fought to a draw at UFC 73.

Main Card:
Light Heavyweight: (#4 LHW) Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz
Middleweight: (#7 MW) Vitor Belfort vs. (#21 MW) Yoshihiro Akiyama
Welterweight: Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole
Middleweight: Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
Welterweight: (#24 WW) Rory MacDonald vs. (#16 WW) Mike Pyle

Preliminary card (to be broadcast on SPIKE):
Light Heavyweight: (#16 LHW) Matt Hamill vs. (#17 LHW) Alexander Gustafsson
Featherweight: (#3 FW) Chad Mendes vs. (#17 FW) Rani Yahya

Preliminary card:
Bantamweight: Ivan Menjivar vs. Nick Pace
Welterweight: Johny Hendricks vs. Mike Pierce
Featherweight: (#22 FW) Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan
Middleweight: Rafael Natal vs. Costantinos Philippou

All rankings are courtesy of USA Today/SB Nation's consensus rankings last updated on June 30th.


Nogueira Out Of UFC 133 With Injury, Rich Franklin Forced Off Card Without Opponent

The month of July has not been kind to the UFC. Just days removed from the Phil Davis fiasco, disaster struck once again as UFC 133 co-headliner Antonio Rogerio Nogueira announced Saturday that he would be forced to withdraw from the event due to a shoulder injury suffered during training camp. The departure was the third in three days for the besieged Philadelphia show.

As a result of the withdrawal, Nogueria's scheduled opponent, -- Rich "Ace" Franklin (28-6, 13-5 UFC) -- suddenly found himself facing a stifling situation of uncertainty. While UFC president Dana White made it clear that he was actively searching for a replacement, the truth was the announcement could not have come at a worse time.

Following an excruciating week of light heavyweight drop-outs and add-ons, it appears the UFC brass finally just ran out of viable options. With a severe lack of fighters available to step into the bout on two weeks notice, White and promotion matchmaker Joe Silva were forced to throw in the towel and remove the 36-year old former middleweight champion from the card.

This is a disappointing turn of events for Franklin, to be sure. Receiving a new opponent on short notice is a heavy burden in of itself, but wasting an arduous training camp for naught is an entirely different beast, especially for a fighter flanked by the looming threat his career's twilight.

Franklin has yet to make a statement regarding the news, except for a short acknowledgment posted on his Twitter account, "It is true, my fight has been scratched from UFC 133."

Due to the circumstances, Vitor Belfort's middleweight contest with Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 has now been upgraded to co-main event status. A welterweight matchup between between Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman has also been moved to the main card.


Tito Ortiz Changes Mind, Will Fight Rashad Evans At UFC 133

All it took for Tito Ortiz to change his mind was 24 hours. A day after turning down the open headlining spot against Rashad Evans (15-1-1, 10-1-1 UFC) at UFC 133, Ortiz had a sudden swing of heart, becoming the organization's unexpected savior following an increasingly bleak turn of events.

"Tito turned it down, and then Tito called back and said, 'Did you get the fight yet?'" UFC President Dana White told MMA Junkie Wednesday night. "I said, 'Nope.' He goes, 'Let me think about it. Let me talk to my team, and I'll call you back tomorrow.'"

That phone call took place late Tuesday night, according the White. Within the next 24 hours Ortiz would publicly state to several media outlets that he felt comfortable with his decision to decline the fight. However, behind the scenes, it was clearly not that easy.

"I guarantee you he sat around and [thought], 'That dude hasn't fought in a year and a half,'" White mused. "‘First time we fought, we fought to a draw, and we have a lot of the same attributes. I feel great, I feel healthy, just came off a big win - confidence couldn't be higher.'"

Less than a day later the fight was set.

Despite opening as a four-to-one underdog, Ortiz (16-8-1, 15-8-1 UFC) has a chance none could have thought possible. A month removed from the edge of retirement, the 36-year old suddenly finds himself on the verge of storming into light heavyweight division's top ranks.

"The storyline is what's so interesting," White said. "Tito went from, 'You're about to be cut,' to now, if he beats Rashad Evans, he's back in the mix."

"[If] he beats a top-10 contender in Ryan Bader, and then comes in and knocks off who many believe is the No. 1 contender for the title," White concluded. "No one could deny that [he's returned to the top of the division]."

It seems fitting that after a impossibly chaotic two days, in which UFC 133 teetered on the utter brink of failure and success more times than one could count, White still fell headfirst into the most sensational outcome.

The reclamation of a disregarded career is a story as old as time. For some bizarre reason, there is no thrill as fascinating as watching a pure force of nature, driven by years of slight and marginalization, uproot the castle of greatness. Somehow, with fell swoop, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" now has the chance to do something that once seemed unimaginable.

"It's [expletive] weird here," White said, the heavy weight of implications resting on his mind. "It's like I'm dealing with a new person. I like it. I like the new Tito."


Phil Davis Withdraws From UFC 133 Main Event, Lyoto Machida Unlikely

According to reports late Tuesday night, UFC prospect Phil Davis (9-0, 5-0 UFC) has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 133 headlining light heavyweight bout with Rashad Evans (15-1-1, 10-1-1 UFC) due to a knee injury suffered during training camp. This unfortunate development is just another in an already long list of big-name injury withdrawals within the organization thus far in 2011. Now placed into a tough spot, the UFC must scramble to find a new headliner on short notice for the August 8th event.

Following the intial announcement, several media outlets reported that former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (17-2, 9-2 UFC) had accepted the bout. As MMA fans remember, "The Dragon" famously handed Evans the only loss of his career on the wings of a brutal, highlight reel knockout at UFC 98.

Thus, the match seemed to be signed, sealed, and ready to go, when Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole reported via Twitter Wednesday morning that UFC President Dana White confirmed that Machida had agreed to the terms. However, less than an hour later, Iole was forced to retract that statement, instead reporting that Machida had not yet agreed to the bout. Around that time, reports from Brazil surfaced claiming that Machida's manager, Ed Soares, had already confirmed that the bout was unlikely.

So now the UFC is back at square one. Without a big name headlining opponent for Rashad Evans, the organization suddenly finds themselves in an incredibly precarious position. UFC 133 was already going to be a relatively tough event to sell to fans due to a lack of star power, and these latest developments only compound the situation.

At this point, if White and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva are unable to find a compelling adversary for Evans on less than a months notice, it is becoming more and more likely that the organization may be forced to remove the 31-year old from the card altogether. Such a move would be a disaster for both the UFC and Evans, who already has had a ridiculously tough road to get where he is now.

"Sugar" was first scheduled to face Shogun Rua for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 128, however a knee injury forced Evans to withdraw his name from the bout. Following recovery, he was set to square off against former friend and training partner Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 133, but that also quickly fell through, this time due to an hand injury on Jones' part. From the ashes of that letdown, the Phil Davis fight was born, but now that has fallen through as well.

Throughout this whole ordeal, one thing has been made certain. Evans -- who still has not fought since May 2010 -- has displayed otherworldly patience in dealing with this continuous train of disappointment. 

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