by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
When Diego Sanchez had to drop off of the UFC 90 fight card
little more than a week before the event, he took one of the better fights on
the card to the injury graveyard. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Ultimate
Fighting Championship was able to shuffle the deck and put on an even more
impressive fight, as Josh Koscheck stepped up on short notice to challenge
"One of the great things about the UFC is… think
about boxing matches, when a big fight falls out, they have to cancel the
UFC president Dana White. "Thank God, we have a track record of when a
good fight falls out we make a better fight out of it.
"Josh Koscheck was already training; he was going to
headline our fight for the troops on Dec. 10. He stepped up to the plate last
minute without hesitation. Like I said, we replaced a great fight with a better
fight, with both guys stepping up."
With Alves ranked No. 3
in the world at welterweight by MMAWeekly.com and Koscheck at No. 4,
it’s hard to deny that this is a bigger fight since No. 8 ranked Sanchez
stepped down. According to White, this bout is a de facto elimination bout for
contention to the welterweight crown currently held by Georges St. Pierre.
"If you look at Thiago… the two guys he just beat…
the first guy to knock out Karo Parisyan. He just knocked out Matt Hughes and
Matt Hughes had trouble taking him down. Koscheck beat Diego Sanchez, too. If
Koscheck came out and beat Thiago Alves Saturday night, he’s in line for a
title shot. Thiago beats Koscheck, so is he," professed White.
"This one fell in our lap. It’s a great fight. It
seriously puts these two in position for a title shot."
It may not have been planned, but there’s no discounting
that the bout between Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck added a little bit more
luster to the UFC 90 card headlined by middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s
title defense against Canadian fighter Patrick Cote.