by Mick Hammond and Ken Pishna
MMA Weekly has learned that Joe Riggs is indeed out of his fight with Matt Lindland scheduled for UFC 54 on August 20th. According to our sources, Riggs has two bulging disks in his neck, which obviously precludes him from fighting.
According to Lindland, with Riggs out, the fight has been offered to and accepted by Canadian fighter Joe Doerksen. A two-time UFC veteran, Doerksen will step in to take Riggs’ slot against Lindland. Doerksen is coming off his first win for the company. At UFC 52, he defeated fellow Canadian Patrick Cote via rear naked choke.
The change in opponents doesn’t make much difference to Lindland though, “I’m a little disappointed that I don’t get to beat up Riggs, but I’m looking forward to beating up Doerksen. I’m just glad I’m still fighting. I’m glad they got an opponent and didn’t cancel the fight.”
He’s not even changing up his training for Doerksen. “I don’t change my style. I’m just going to go out there and do what I do. I’m going to finish the fight and take care of business,” according to Lindland.
After a convincing win over Travis Lutter at UFC 52, Lindland had been guaranteed a shot at Rich Franklin’s middleweight title by UFC President Dana White, but it doesn’t sound like he is letting that affect his thinking at the moment. “”I would love to see that, but I’m not the one that does the match making for the company. I’m going to do my part and go out and put on a great show and give the fans an exciting finish, it’s up to the UFC what happens after that,” he said.
Doerksen and Lindland are no strangers to each other. Late last year, Doerksen fought for Lindland’s Sportfight promotion and defeated Lindland protégé Ed “Short Fuse” Herman via triangle choke in the third round of the fight. In fact, he’s done quite well in general against Team Quest fighters with a perfect 3-0 record. “He’s the Team Quest killer at this point. He took out Chris Leben, Ed Herman, and recently Art Santore. He’s 3-0 against Team Quest but he’ll be 3-1 after the UFC,” promised Lindland.
Consistently ranked as one of the top five fighters in the world in his weight class, Lindland is sure to be looked upon by most as the veteran of this matchup. Doerksen may not have the UFC experience that Lindland does, but in all actuality, he has vastly more mixed martial arts experience with 37 fights compared to Lindland’s 17. Of course, Lindland makes up for much of that difference with his background in competitive wrestling, including a Silver Medal at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Many people were looking forward to the fight between Lindland and Riggs primarily due to the trash talking between the two on the Internet. That same fire doesn’t exist between Lindland and Doerksen, but what they don’t bring to the fight verbally, they should more than make up for in the Octagon, as both are highly skilled and extremely competitive. And Doerksen’s new moniker as “the Team Quest killer” does add a little spice to the matchup as well.