Rich Franklin pulled from UFC 133 fight card, Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama promoted to co-main eventPosted on July 17, 2011, 06:10 PM by Joey Santosus
It appears that attempts by the UFC to find yet another Light Heavyweight to step in on short notice have went unsuccessful, as Rich Franklin has been pulled from the UFC 133 card following the withdraw of his scheduled opponent Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
In place of the bout, the Middleweight clash between Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama will now serve as co-main event and Welterweights Dennis Hallman and Brian Ebersole, who were set to go head to head in a preliminary match, has now been bumped up to the main card.
The promotion made the announcement via their official website, UFC.com:
"A third light heavyweight in a week has been forced to withdraw from UFC 133 - Dana White confirmed today via Twitter that Antonio Rogerio Nogueria is out of the August 6 fight against Rich Franklin due to an injury. The bout will not replaced, and the Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama bout will be moved to the co-main event slot, while the welterweight battle between Dennis Hallman and Brian Ebersole has been moved to the main card."
Belfort (19-9) returns to action for the first time since his failed attempt at dethroning division Champion Anderson Silva back in February. Though "The Phenom" went into the title bout riding a five-fight win steak, he suffered a dramatic first-round knockout loss to "The Spider." Belfort will look to get back in the win column when he meets Akiyama (13-3), who hopes to rebound from back to back losses in his last to outings, including a "2010 Fight of the Year" performance against Chris Leben.
Hallman (50-13-2), meanwhile, suffered a knockout loss to John Howard in his 2009 octagon return before bouncing back with consecutive wins over Ben Saunders and Karo Parisyan. "Superman" will look to extend his streak to three with a victory over Ebersole (47-14-1), who made his promotional debut at UFC 127, scoring a unanimous decision over an always game Chris Lytle.
UFC 133 is set to take place August 6th from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A Light Heavyweight rematch between top contender Rashad Evans and a recently resurgent Tito Ortiz will headline the card, while Vitor Belfort and Yoshihiro Akiyama will go head to head in the co-main event.
Photo: UFC fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan during a training session before UFC 116 on June 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Francis Specker