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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
After Jon Jones defeated Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 135 last month, it was expected that his fight with Rashad Evans would be up next. However, the UFC targeted their bout for a Dec. 10 date at UFC 140, and Evans wasn't able to go by then, prompting the organization to place Lyoto Machida into that fight instead. Evans has now released a statement on the situation, and he says he agrees with the decision the UFC made.
"After my last fight against Tito Ortiz, I dislocated my right thumb, which required it to be set back in place and held with pins," the statement read. "24 hours ago, my physician removed the pins. At that time, I learned that it would require another three weeks of rehabilitation before engaging in any exercise or training that would require the use of my hand."
"Dana White and I spoke earlier today, and I fully understand his decision to put Machida against Jones for the title at UFC 140. Given the rehabilitation time I require for my dislocated thumb, I would not be 100 percent ready by December 10. The UFC has to keep making fights that entertain the fans. I would have done the same thing as Dana in his position. I'm asking for the fans to support me as I rehabilitate my hand, and I promise I will be back fighting very quickly."
Penick's Analysis: It's not entirely clear what the return time is for Evans, and if he would have been able to go by sometime in January then this may have been a bit too early of a move for the UFC to make. The Jones-Evans fight is a money match-up with the history the two of them have and the talk that's already begun, and if they were able to have that fight in January it would have kept things in line in the division. If this extra three weeks of rehab meant he'd still be out until February or beyond then making the Machida fight makes sense. That said, it comes down to the UFC wanting a main event level fight for this UFC 140 card and Jones being ready and willing to defend his title again. It's still a good fight with Machida, but with considerably less sizzle to the steak than the Evans fight would have provided.
[Rashad Evans art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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