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Rashad Evans Meets Phil Davis, Not Jon Jones, at UFC 133 (Update)

Rashad Evans’ title shot has eluded him once again, but this time it’s because the champ’s injured, not him.

MMA Junkie is reporting that the recovery period for a hand injury Jon Jones sustained in his championship victory over Shogun Rua is going to take much longer than originally expected. Instead of waiting even longer to fight again, Rashad Evans will face off against Phil Davis at UFC 133 in Philadelphia.

Sources today confirmed with ( the new matchup, which is expected to take place at UFC 133. The Canadian Press’ Neil Davidson first reported the opponent switch.

A source told that Jones is facing a lengthy recovery from a torn right-hand ligament suffered in his title win. A timetable for his return wasn’t immediately available.

Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa, declined to comment on the report.

This must have come together pretty quick, because just last week Phil Davis told MMA Junkie he was planning to take the rest of the year off to improve his game before stepping back in the cage following his underwhelming performance against Lil’ Nog at UFC Fight Night 24. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting the opportunity to fight the number one contender this summer when he said that though. It’s excellent opportunity for Davis, but it is unclear if he will steal away Evans’ title shot with a win.

Image via Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Update: Jon Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa, has informed MMA Junkie that Jones has a torn ligament in his right hand that requires surgery to repair.

“Jon hurt his hand in the ‘Shogun’ Rua fight,” Kawa today told ( “He hurt his hand really bad, but it’s also something that’s been bothering him for a long time – all the way back to his wrestling days in college. On his right hand, his thumb and forefinger and the area in between becomes very, very swollen. It gets to the point where he can’t even make a fist.

“As the week after the fight with ‘Shogun’ went by, his hand started to feel a little bit better. The UFC immediately had the hand X-rayed because they thought it might be broken, and the results came back negative. He was told just to rest the hand, and it would probably get better. Unfortunately, the pain remained, and even shaking people’s hands was starting to hurt him very badly. He told me how bad it was hurting, and I was in the middle of discussion with the UFC for the Rashad Evans fight, which was expected to take place in Philadelphia.”

“Jon was supposed to start training camp next week, but he admitted his hand was still really bothering him,” Kawa said. “I explained to the UFC what was happening, and we were hoping we could push the fight back a little bit, maybe September or so, to let the hand heal through the month of May. This was about two or three weeks ago.

“The UFC suggested we get an MRI done because there must obviously be something wrong with the hand if it was still in pain. We got that done with one of the UFC’s doctors, and we just got the results back last week, and he has a torn ligament.”

Kawa added that Jones really wanted to push through the injury for the Evans fight, but ultimately realized it was in his best long-term interest to fix it before it got worse or cost him a fight. Kawa hopes Jones will be able to return in October or November.

Rashad Evans says he’ll be waiting.

“I’m looking forward to fighting Phil Davis August 6th at UFC 133, he’s a strong wrestler and a rising star in the light heavyweight division,” said Evans. “I wish Jon Jones a speedy recovery, he has something that belongs to me and when he’s ready, I’ll be waiting.”

And Jon Jones will be watching.

“This is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler, it doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so that it doesn’t happen again,” said Jones. “I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense. As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Phil Davis. I will be watching that fight with great interest.”

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Fight Cards

Bellator 163: McGeary vs. Davis

Event Date: November 4, 2016
Broadcast: Spike

UFC Fight Night 98: Dos Anjos vs. Ferguson

Event Date: November 5, 2016
Broadcast: TBD

Bellator 164: Koreshkov vs. Lima

Event Date: November 11, 2016
Broadcast: Spike Sports

UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor

Event Date: November 12, 2016
Broadcast: Pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass

Bellator 165: Chandler Vs. Henderson

Event Date: November 19, 2016
Broadcast: Spike TV

UFC Fight Night 99: Mousasi vs. Hall 2

Event Date: November 19, 2016
Broadcast: TBD