The UFC on FX 8 co-main event has taken a big hit.
Middleweight Constantinos Philippou (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) reportedly has suffered a cut and will be forced out of his fight with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (17-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Philippou and Souza were set to meet in a little more than two weeks in Brazil.
MMAFighting.com reported the injury, though UFC officials have yet to make an announcement. It is not yet known if Souza will remain on the card against a short-notice opponent or if he will be pulled entirely.
UFC on FX 8 takes place May 18 at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The event’s main-card airs on FX following prelims on FUEL TV and Facebook.
The New York-based Philippou earlier this week told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) he believes a win over Souza, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, could put him right in the mix for title contention.
“I think beating Jacare should get me the top three guys in the world,” Philippou said. “But let me beat Jacare first – and that’s not an easy thing to do – then we’ll take it from there.”
That now gets put on hold.
Philippou was going after his fifth straight win, and the fight with Souza was his highest-profile opponent yet. After a unanimous decision loss on short notice in his UFC debut, the Serra-Longo fighter, a teammate of current top middleweight contender Chris Weidman, picked up wins over Jorge Rivera, Jared Hamman, Court McGee and Riki Fukuda.
But it was his third-round TKO of Tim Boetsch, a fight he took filling in for an injured Weidman at UFC 155, that put him squarely in the middleweight contender conversation.
Souza was coming into the fight with Philippou on a three-fight win streak for his UFC debut. After beating Tim Kennedy for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight title in August 2010, he defended the belt with a submission win over Robbie Lawler. But Luke Rockhold then took it from him with a unanimous decision win in September 2011.
After losing the belt, “Jacare” went on a tear, stopping Bristol Marunde with a third-round submission, knocking out out Derek Brunson in just 41 seconds and tapping Ed Herman in the first round at Strikeforce’s final show in January.
If he remains on the card, it will be the Brazilian’s first fight in his home country since 2007.
It is the second high-profile cut to affect the top end of a UFC main card in the past month. At UFC on FUEL TV 9 this past month in Sweden, main-event light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson had a cut knock him from his fight with Gegard Mousasi just days before the event. Teammate Ilir Latifi filled in for him and dropped a unanimous decision.
UFC on FX 8 features a main event middleweight bout between Vitor Belfort (22-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) and Rockhold (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC). The four-fight main card on FX also is scheduled to include a middleweight bout between Chris Camozzi (19-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Rafael Natal (15-4-1 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC), plus Rafael dos Anjos (18-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) vs. Evan Dunham (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) at lightweight.
For the latest on UFC on FX 8, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Constantinos Philippou)