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Injuries have ravaged the next three UFC pay-per-view events. Instead of focusing on the negative, how about some positives? Which of the newly scheduled fights or replacement fights are you most looking forward to from UFC 147-UFC 149 and why?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Look, I'm watching all three shows. That's what I do. I watch UFC, Bellator, most anything on HDNet (unlike our boss), and even Strikeforce (eewwwww). So it doesn't effect me personally if three cards in succession go to hell in a hurry (four if you include UFC 146, five if you include the fact that Che Mills was one injury away from main eventing UFC 145, think about it). The only effect is that I won't get as much enjoyment out of each of the three cards because so many great fights have been lost. That said, there are ZERO POSITIVES here. It sucks for fans, it sucks for management, most importantly (and let's remember our place on the totem poll now), it sucks for the fighters. Since Yoshihiro Akiyama went down and was replaced by Siyar Bahadurzada, every injury replacement fight has resulted in a less appealing fight, period. There are no replacement fights that interest me more than the fight that was lost. I mean, I really like Boetsch vs. Lombard, but not as much as Bisping vs. Boetsch and Lombard vs. Stann, ya dig? It's s***ty luck and bad timing, and not a lot can be done to change what happened. For once, the UFC attempted to stack three consecutive PPVs, which is something they rarely do anymore, and I'm looking at YOU when I write that UFC 145, and it still blew up in their face. Either watch or don't watch, capisce?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch should be a good fight. I'm really looking forward to Uriah Faber vs. Renan Barao. Not sure if that counts, but these are slim pickings. The UFC has really hit a rough patch, but these two fights are pretty good substitutes. They don't really have a choice, they just got to make do.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I will easily be in the minority here, but I'm a bit excited to watch Wanderlei Silva vs Rich Franklin. Yes, we've seen it before, and no I don't think people will pay for this car based on one fight but this should be fun. Two old dogs coming out to each other and hopefully leaving it all in the cage. Even if it doesn't excite many or sell PPV's, this should be entertaining.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch from UFC 149, is the one fight to come out of all of the recent injury mess that I am really looking forward to. I have been a huge Lombard fan for a long time and have always wondered how he would stack up against the elite of the UFC's Middleweight division. Boetsch is not the elite of the division, but close enough. He is coming off victories against Kendall Grove, Nick Ring and most recently Yushin Okami. I feel like Boetsch is a highly enough ranked fighter that we will immediately get a sense of where Lombard stands in the division. My feeling is that he will KO Boetsch early and then the title talk for Lombard will begin.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Tim Boetsch coming in against Hector Lombard should be one hell of a brawl. Lombard badly needs to prove that he is on the level of UFC's top tier middleweights in his debut, and Boetsch has incredible power in his hands, and the ability to test any man in the cage. This is really the fight that I have found most intriguing to come out of the series of injuries that have been sustained over the last few weeks. I'm also looking forward to see what Shawn Jordan can do against a wily vet like Cheick Kongo - they're both very powerful strikers who should put on one hell of a show for the crowd. It's also going to be interesting to see if Urijah Faber can slow down Renan Barao's immense momentum coming into their interim title bout.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
I remember being asked earlier this year to select which UFC event I was most looking forward to this summer. At the time it was difficult to choose one because almost every card was stacked full of quality match ups. It's difficult to remain positive when each and everyone of those cards has been obliterated, to the point they are now almost unrecognizable. Earlier this year I went for UFC 148, firstly because of the Silva vs. Sonnen rematch, but secondly because Michael Bisping was on the card in a potential No. 1 contender fight with Tim Boetsch. Despite the injury to Bisping (after the fight was moved to UFC 149), the 148 card is still the one I'm anticipating the most.
Although I was extremely disappointed to hear Bisping had been injured, I am looking forward to seeing Lombard vs. Boetsch now, a replacement bout that isn't weakened in the slightest. Menjivar vs. Easton, Barao vs. Faber all have the potential to be explosive, and even Franklin vs. Silva should be fun to watch if it comes anywhere close to the original match up in Germany at UFC 99. Hey, we don't have to pay $50 - $60 to watch these cards in the UK, so I'll still be watching them all live, even UFC 147 this weekend. Whether or not I manage to stay awake past 5AM is another matter entirely.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I think Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao is probably the best replacement matchup made thus far. Barao is an excellent fighter but hasn't really fought the cream of the crop at 135. He got a taste of it with Scott Jorgenson and Brad Pickett, but he hasn't faced any kind of sustained high level opposition.
Urijah Faber is an absolute gorilla at 135 and really has had his way with everyone but Dominick Cruz at that weight. This fight is Barao's ridiculous win streak vs. Faber's shot at Dominick Cruz and a UFC championship. There's a lot on the line and the fight's probably going to be awesome too.
[Hector Lombard photo (c) Henry Dziekan III]
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