According to the UFC, “Bones” has been scratched from a scheduled defense of his belt against former teammate Rashad Evans at UFC 133 in Philadelphia due to nagging hand injury worsened in his title-winning performance against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in March. Specifically, as was explained in a press release from Jones’ management team, the affliction relates to “torn tissue in his right hand in the area between his thumb and forefinger”. No timetable has been set for his return to action.
Stepping in for the champ at the August 6 event against Evans will be undefeated contender Phil Davis. Davis honed his craft at Penn State during a storied run as a Nittany Lion wrestler meaning UFC 133 will serve as a semi-homecoming, not to mention a “Big 10” rivalry of sorts given Evans’ affiliation with Michigan State.
“This is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler, it doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so that it doesn’t happen again,” Jones explained in an official statement. “I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense. As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Davis. I will be watching that fight with great interest.”
“Mr. Wonderful” is 9-0 thus far in his MMA career including impressive wins over Brian Stann, Tim Boetsch, and most recently Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFN 24 last month. His All-American credentials should also come into play in August given Evans’ standard style of getting opponents to the mat and grinding them down.
“Sugar” ‘Shad has been sidelined since earning a title-shot with a decision win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Memorial Day Weekend 2010, then seeing his opportunity go to Jones after injuring his knee while training for the bout against Rua. The UFC’s former 205-pound champion is 15-1-1 overall with victories over Thiago Silva, Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, and Forrest Griffin.
In addition to Davis vs. Evans, UFC 133 will also feature Vitor Belfort taking on Yoshishiro Akiyama and Rich Franklin mixing it up with the aforementioned Nogueira brother.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC