The injury bug struck UFC 199 big, with Chris Weidman pulling out of the main event bout on Tuesday after suffering an injury during training.

Weidman Out

Weidman, who was supposed to face Luke Rockhold for the UFC middleweight title in the headliner, suffered a serious neck injury while preparing for UFC 199. On his Facebook page, Weidman detailed how neck pains and severe vertigo led to the discovery of a “large extrusion herniation” that left him no choice but to withdraw from the June 4th event. As a result, the UFC scrambled to find a replacement opponent for Rockhold with barely two weeks left before fight night.

The UFC’s first option was Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who is ranked behind Weidman in the 185-pound standings. Souza was coming off an impressive 1st round TKO win over #3 ranked Vitor Belfort last Saturday at UFC 198. Unfortunately, Souza tore a meniscus during the Belfort fight and was unable to step in for Weidman.

Bisping Answers Call

Enter Michael Bisping, the man next to Souza in the Middleweight ladder. The trash talking Briton is coming off three consecutive wins, including last February’s come from behind victory over Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night London. Despite getting the call on short notice, Bisping wasted no time in grabbing the opportunity to fight for a world title for the first time in his career.

A lot is going against Bisping, though. First is the fact that he needs to shed the pounds in two weeks in order to make weight. The Count says he’s at around 208 lbs right now and would be working double time to catch 185. Then he also needs to come up with a new game plan to dethrone Rockhold, as this isn’t the first time they will be facing each other inside the UFC Octagon.

Bisping vs. Rockhold Rematch

Rockhold submitted Bisping in two rounds during their first encounter at UFC Fight Night 55. And if the Briton wants to turn the tables this time around, he will need to avoid Rockhold’s elite striking and force his trademark pressure against his opponent.

With the benefit of a full training camp, Rockhold should have the edge in conditioning. But don’t count the Count out yet, he believes he has more heart to compensate his physical disadvantages. Question is whether grit and determination will be enough to unseat a man who is in his destructive pime.

Long Odds

After losing to Vitor Belfort in his UFC debut, Rockhold has won five straight bouts by stoppage. The wins include the four round annihilation of Chris Weidman at UFC 194. He is seen by many as the best middleweight in the game today. Rockhold is a massive -1050 favorite over Bisping, who stands at +600 in the latest odds.

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