According to a new published report, it appears that Lyoto Machida receive his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title sooner rather than later.
The Britsh tabloid The Sun is reporting that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be unable to accept an offer to headline UFC 98 on May 23 in Las Vegas against current 205 pound kingpin Rashad Evans. The Sun adds that with Jackson’s hand injury preventing him from fighting at UFC 98, Machida has been tapped to challenge Evans.
It should be noted that the UFC has yet to make an official announcement regarding a replacement main event for UFC 98, which had been slated to be headlined by a title unification match between UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and UFC interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Lesnar vs. Mir II was postponed after Mir underwent recent knee surgery.
It is believed that Jackson injured his hand during this past Saturday’s unanimous decision victory over Keith Jardine at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio. Soon after the fight, Jackson was approached by UFC President Dana White and offered the opportunity to fight Evans for the title at UFC 98.
In addition to his injured hand, Jackson also recently brought to a light a lingering jaw injury that he sustained in anticipation of his UFC 92 matchup against against Wanderlei Silva back in December.
If The Sun report is true, Jackson will have to sit idle and watch Machida and Evans from the sidelines. While Jackson could possibly face the winner of the fight later in the year, the UFC has yet to make any assurances.
For Machida, a title shot has been a long time coming. The undefeated Brazilian sensation is currently 14-0 with six of his victories having taken place while competing under the UFC banner.
He last fought at UFC 94 where he fought fellow undefeated Brazilian Thiago Silva. Machida won the fight via knockout with just seconds remaining in the first round. Machida also holds notable victories over Tito Ortiz, B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin, Stephan Bonnar and Kazuhiro Nakamura.