Shane Carwin announced Tuesday that he's pulling out of his fight against Roy Nelson at UFC 125 on New Year's Day.
"As many of you know I have been having some back pain," Carwin wrote on his website shane-carwin.com. "I had an MRI [Monday] and I have some damage that may really require surgery. If the doctors do not have to perform surgery then I will be out 8-12 weeks. If they do have to perform surgery I do not know how long I will be out of action."
The Carwin-Nelson matchup has been removed from the UFC 125 event page, but that doesn't that the formerly scheduled co-main event has been scrapped entirely.
President Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva have enough time to find a suitable replacement for Carwin. Here are some possibilities.
The former interim heavyweight champion is coming off a third-round knockout of Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 119, and would make for an interesting matchup with Nelson. Both can bang, and both have superior jiu-jitsu. Plus, with Lesnar no longer the champion, Mir must feel rejuvenated about a title run in 2011.
He just picked apart Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 121, and a rematch of the "Ultimate Finale" (Nelson won by first-round knockout) may be a good revenge angle to play up Schaub's ever-increasing profile with fans. It's a short turnaround time for Schaub -- 10 weeks -- but he's young and hungry.
Another UFC 121 fighter who could potentially fight here. It would certainly boost the profile of the year-end card, traditionally a UFC extravaganza. But, again, the turnaround time -- and his ornery nature -- may hinder Lesnar's availability.
*** 10/27/10, 1:15 p.m. UPDATE: UFC 121 medical suspensions were handed down late Tuesday night, and Lesnar is out for six months.
A training partner of Lesnar's, Madsen (7-0, 4-0) steamrolled Gilbert Yvel in what felt like 15 seconds at UFC 121. He certainly didn't incur any physical harm in that one-sided bout, so he could be ready. A longshot, though, given he's not marketable enough yet for a co-main event spot.
Hmmm, this could be an interesting possibility. The dirty boxer against the buddha.
It's also possible that Nelson's next fight will be pushed back a month or two and another fight already on the card will get bumped up to co-main event status. Or, an entirely new fight could be added.