This was supposed to be the dream fight for Gian Villante. In his home state, a train ride from his hometown, in the middle of Madison Square Garden.
But as UFC 205, the first fight card in New York State for the leading mixed martial arts promotion since the 19-year ban was overturned earlier this year, draws closer to its Nov. 12 date, Villante will not be competing on it.
Villante, a light heavyweight from Levittown, had to withdraw Wednesday from a scheduled bout with Marcos Rogerio de Lima because of a knee injury. Villante (14-7, 4-4) said he will need arthroscopic surgery.
“The thing is pretty bad, though,” said Villante, who fights out of Bellmore Kickboxing, in a text message. “Not sure I could even train with it.”
Villante, who was an All-American wrestler at MacArthur High School and an All-American football player at Hofstra in the 2000s, is coming off a loss to Ilir Latifi last March.
UFC 205 has lost some of its local flavor this week. Al Iaquinta, from Wantagh, said earlier this week that he hasn’t signed his bout agreement to fight Thiago Alves at the Garden because of a financial dispute with the UFC. He said he pulled out of the fight over the contract terms.
The long-rumored bout between former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, from Baldwin, and Yoel Romero is not definite yet either, Weidman said.
With around 50 days to go until UFC 205, there still has been no main event announced, nor any fight officially announced by the UFC. Over the weekend, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley said on Fox Sports’ fight night broadcast that he’s fighting Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 205. On Tuesday night, UFC president Dana White tweeted that lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez could possibly defend his title against Khabib Nurmagomedov.