Blood infection forces ‘Cowboy’ out of Lawler fight

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will still face ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler, but it won’t be on UFC 213 on July 8.

Published on Tuesday, 6/28/17, at 9:13 p.m. Eastern.

It pains me to type these words: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone had to pull out of his UFC 213 showdown vs. Robbie Lawler this morning due to a blood infection. This battle between two of the most exciting fighters in MMA history has now been scrapped for a second time.

The pair were initially set to tangle at UFC 205 at MSG in NYC but shortly after word of the fight leaked out, Lawler decided he wasn’t quite ready to get back in the Octagon following his first-round knockout loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 in Atlanta at Philips Arena.

The good news is that a replacement is not going to be sought out for Lawler. There were reports this afternoon that Cerrone might be ready as early as UFC 214 on July 29. However, UFC President Dana White shot down that notion.

White told, “Here’s the deal. ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is a stud. He’s too tough for his own good. He absolutely wanted to fight. The kid’s got a pulled groin; he’s got a bruise from his knee to the inside of his groin. And his other knee is blowing up; he’s got staph infection.

“Could he come out and fight? Probably. Should he come out and fight Robbie Lawler with a pulled groin? No, he shouldn’t. We’re going to get him healthy and remake the fight.”

Lawler had been favored in the -150/-160 range at most betting shops, leaving Cerrone as an underdog in the +130 neighborhood.

Speaking of UFC 214, a third title fight has been added to this monster card. This news broke when Woodley announced on Wednesday’s edition of FS1’s “UFC Tonight” that he’ll be defending his welterweight strap against Demian Maia.

The 39-year-old Maia is on an eight-fight winning streak that includes a split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 in May. The Brazilian is perhaps the best BJJ specialist in UFC history at any weight. Maia is also one of the best grapplers at welterweight and middleweight, the division he used to compete in and once challenged Anderson Silva for the belt at UFC 112.

The UFC 214 card takes place on July 29 in Anaheim and will be headlined by Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones. Cormier will be defending his light-heavyweight belt for the third time when he faces Jones, the long-time 205-pound kingpin who only lost his belt when he was stripped of it following an arrest on felony hit-and-run charges.

Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision in January of 2015 at UFC 182, but he has only fought once since then. In that outing, Jones didn’t look nearly as explosive and dangerous as he has in every other Octagon appearance. Nevertheless, he won a UD over Ovince St. Pruex rather easily.

Most books have Jones favored in the -250/-280 range. The best underdog price I saw on Cormier earlier today was +245 at 5Dimes.

The other title fight in Anaheim will pit Chris Cyborg against Tonya Evinger for the women’s featherweight championship. Cyborg was originally slated to meet Megan Anderson, but Anderson had to withdraw for undisclosed personal reasons on Tuesday.

In other UFC 214 news, Renan Barao and Aljamain Sterling will now collide at a 140-pound catchweight. Barao, the former bantamweight champ, had moved up to 145 for a pair of fights after losing back-to-back title fights against T.J. Dillashaw. He recently decided to drop back to make another run at 135 pounds.

However, since he missed weight and had to be hospitalized before his UFC 177 fight against Dillashaw in Sacramento, the California State Athletic Association wouldn’t sanction Barao to fight at 135 again.

**B.E.’s Bonus Octagon Nuggets**

–My UFC Fight Night 112 Best Bets piece on worked out well. My picks went 5-1 for 5.15 units of profit and my lone ‘L’ came in controversial fashion when referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the main event. Kevin Lee was attempting to finish Michael Chiesa, a +120 underdog, by rear-naked choke, but Chiesa had not gone out or tapped. Nevertheless, Yamasaki prematurely called a halt to the fight.

–A heavyweight showdown has been added to the UFC 215 card, as former heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos will collide with Francis Ngannou.

–Johny Hendricks missed weight for the fourth time in his career ahead of his middleweight clash with Tim Boetsch in Oklahoma City this past Sunday. Then ‘Barbarian’ beat ‘Big Rigg,’ the former welterweight champ, by second-round knockout. Hendricks, who is now 1-4 in his last five fights, looked old, slow and heavy compared to his days at welterweight. He could be facing a pink slip in the coming days or weeks, but it hasn’t happened yet.

–According to what White told MMAJunkie, Georges St- Pierre vs. Michael Bisping is not going to happen. GSP is going to face the winner of Maia-Woodley to try and get back the welterweight strap that he voluntarily relinquished to take a three-plus year hiatus from the sport. Therefore, Bisping will make his second title defense against the winner of Robert Whittaker (-125) and Yoel Romero (-105) in the UFC 213 co-main event.

–B.J. Penn’s $150,000 paycheck was tops on the list of UFC FN 112 salaries. However, Penn lost yet again as a short underdog against German kickboxer Dennis Siver, who won a majority decision. I was all over Siver, who saw his odds drop from north of -200 down to as low as -140 in the hour leading up to the opener of the main card on FS1. Penn, who is already a UFC Hall of Famer but hasn’t won a fight since beating a washed-up Matt Hughes in 2010, should go back into retirement and stay there.

–Most offshore books adjusted the price for the UFC 213 main event this afternoon. For weeks now and earlier today, Amanda Nunes had been a -125 favorite vs. Valentina Shevchenko. That’s no longer the case, though, as Shevchenko is now either a -120 or -125 ‘chalk.’ As I’ve been saying and writing for weeks, I LOVE Nunes in this fight and love her even more as a short underdog.

–Speaking of Hughes, he is still recovering from a serious automobile accident in Illinois two weeks ago. Hughes was hit by a moving train on the passenger side of the truck he was driving. He remains in serious but stable condition, but he is on a ventilator. Hughes, another UFC Hall of Famer, had slightly improved according to the last social-media post by his sister. There has been talk of him moving to Sheperd Center in Atlanta, one of the world’s premier hospitals in dealing with spinal-cord injuries and brain trauma, but this hasn’t happened yet. Nothing but best wishes and thoughts to Hughes and all of his friends and family.

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