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Who will replace Shane Carwin at UFC 125?

Shane Carwin knocked out Frank Mir in the

Shane Carwin knocked out Frank Mir in the first round to win the interim heavyweight title at UFC 111 at the Prudential Center in Newark. (March 27, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

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 "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.

Frank Mir

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.

Brendan Schaub

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.

Brock Lesnar

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.

Jon Madsen

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.

Randy Couture

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.


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