After cancelling UFC 151, there was no way that UFC president Dana White was going to pull the plug again if at all possible, even after both his UFC 153 main and co-main events fell apart on the same day.
Jose Aldo was slated to face late replacement Frankie Edgar, putting his featherweight title on the line, in the UFC 153 headliner, while Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was to make his final Octagon appearance against Glover Teixeira in the top supporting bout.
That was until Aldo fell out with a foot injury related to a recent motorcycle crash, and Jackson also dropped off the card with an undisclosed injury.
Just one day later and UFC officials have shifted gears and put three bouts together to replace the two that fell apart.
While UFC middleweight Anderson Silva wasn’t quick enough to step in and save UFC 151 from collapse, he did make a move in time to help keep UFC 153, which takes place on his home turf in Brazil, moving forward.
Frankie Edgar drops off the card altogether, but Silva steps into the main event to face Stephan Bonnar in a three-round, 205-pound main event, White told USA Today.
Teixeira remains on the fight card, but will now square off with Fabio Maldonado.
Maldonado was originally slated to fight Jorgan Kruth at UFC on FX 5 on Oct. 5. Kruth, however, abruptly retired. Maldonado’s fight was then expected to get pushed back to UFC 154 in Montreal in November, but when Jackson dropped off of the UFC 153 fight card, Maldonado reportedly asked for and received the fight with Teixeira.
A completely new bout pitting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira against Dave Herman was also quickly put together on Wednesday, bumping the UFC 153 main card to six fights, with the preliminary bouts slated for FX and Facebook.
White was beside himself when cancelling UFC 151, and surely took the UFC 153 injuries, tearing apart his top two fights, as a personal challenge to get the promotion back on a new streak of not having to cancel an event.
Prior to the UFC 151 cancellation, the promotion had never cancelled an event since Zuffa took over in 2001.
“This is probably one of my all time lows as being president of the UFC,” said White. “For the first time in 11 years, we’re going to cancel an event. Dan Henderson has a partial tear in his MCL (and could not continue).”