by Adam Martin
An injury to Manny Gamburyan has left his opponent Chad Mendes without a fight at UFC 157, and unfortunately he has been pulled from the card entirely.
Last week it was announced by Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated that Gamburyan had broken his thumb and fractured his elbow and had to be removed from UFC 157, which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 23 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. It was thought a replacement opponent would be sought for Mendes, but it appears that’s not the case.
Mendes announced today via Twitter that he would be removed from the card because, in his own words, “No one would step up” to fight him.
The UFC featherweight title contender had taken to Twitter just a few days ago to call out Ricardo Lamas, who is fresh off a TKO win over Erik Koch at UFC on FOX 6 and who is thought to be next in line for a title shot after Anthony Pettis, who is scheduled to face the division’s long-time champion Jose Aldo this summer.
However, Lamas replied to Mendes’ tweet that he has already accepted a fight for May and therefore can’t fight Mendes. It is thought that the UFC has matched up Lamas with another top contender, Chang Sung Jung, but that bout hasn’t been confirmed yet.
The removal of Mendes is sure to be a disappointment to the California native, who was looking forward to fighting in his home state, and to his fans, who were looking forward to seeing him fight in person under the bright lights of the UFC (Mendes hasn’t fought in California since WEC 48 back in April 2010).
It’s the second time in three months that Mendes’ scheduled opponent has pulled out of a fight against him. Back at UFC on FX 6 in December, Mendes was set to fight Brazilian prospect Hacran Dias, but an injury to Dias just weeks before their fight saw him removed from the card and replaced by UFC newcomer Yaotzin Meza, who Mendes proceeded to knock out in 115 seconds. That KO came on the heels of Mendes’ 31-second KO of Cody McKenzie back at UFC 148, so it’s clear he’s motivated to earn a second chance to fight for the UFC title.
Mendes (13-1) is 3-1 in the UFC and his only loss came to Aldo last year. He is considered by many to be one of the very best featherweight fighters on the planet, but he needs to pick up a few more decisive wins before he gets another crack at Aldo, who finished off Mendes with strikes at UFC 142.
There’s been no word yet if Mendes has been rescheduled for another fight card, but as always MMAonline.com will update you with that information as soon as it’s made available.
What are your thoughts?