A knee injury has forced Erik “New Breed” Koch out of his upcoming UFC Featherweight Championship bout with José “Scarface” Aldo at UFC 153 on October 13th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar will now challenge Aldo on the card.
News of the change was first reported by USA Today and MMAjunkie.com late Thursday night. Edgar is coming off of a contentious Split Decision loss to “Smooth” Benson Henderson earlier this month. Aldo has won 14 straight fights and most recently knocked out Chad “Money” Mendes in January.
Edgar (14-3-1) has competed in six consecutive UFC title fights in the lightweight division. He captured the 155-pound championship by defeating “The Prodigy” B.J. Penn in April 2010 and dominated Penn in a rematch four months later. Edgar subsequently battled Gray “The Bully” Maynard on two occasions and handed Maynard the first defeat of his career in an October trilogy bout to even the score at 1-1-1. In February, Edgar travelled to Japan to defend his title against Henderson at UFC 144 and dropped a Unanimous Decision that many felt should have gone the way of the champion. His bid to reclaim the belt from Henderson at UFC 150 ended in a controversial Split Decision loss, but fans and media were united in feeling that Edgar had once again done enough to win the fight.
Following the second disappointing setback, Edgar opted to drop down to the featherweight division and he will receive a golden opportunity in the form of a title fight for his first bout at 145 pounds.
Aldo (21-1-0) is widely regarded as one of MMA’s top pound-for-pound fighters and he has dominated all challengers thus far during his four-year tenure under the Zuffa banner. The hard-hitting Brazilian claimed the WEC Featherweight Championship in late 2009 and he made two successful title defences before the division was merged into the UFC. Aldo was named the inaugural UFC Featherweight Champion and he has since held off the challenges of Mark “The Machine” Hominick, Kenny “Ken-Flo” Florian and Mendes. In the January bout with Mendes, Aldo finished his foe with a vicious knee at the end of the first round to retain his title in front of his vocal Brazilian fans. He now returns to the HSBC Arena in Rio and looks for a big victory over former UFC champion Edgar.
UFC 153 takes place on October 13th at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)