Bisping, Garbrandt sidelined with injuries

Cody Garbrandt won’t be able to defend his 135-pound belt and put his unbeaten record on the line versus T.J. Dillashaw due to a back injury.

Published on Thursday, 5/25/17, at 9:22 a.m. Eastern.

Cody Garbrandt (back) and Michael Bisping (knee) won’t be defending their titles anytime soon.

‘No Love,’ who won the bantamweight strap by dusting Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 last December, had been slated to defend his belt for the first time against former champion T.J. Dillashaw. However, a back injury has prompted his removal from the UFC 213 headliner. Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Dillashaw, the former teammates at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, have been the coaches for Season 25 of The Ultimate Fighter.

Bisping was originally going to take on Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre in the former welterweight champ’s return to the Octagon from a 3-plus year layoff. With GSP unable to fight until October, Dana White scrapped those plans and decided to give No. 1 contender Yoel Romero a shot at Bisping’s belt.

But with a knee injury sidelining the middleweight champ from Manchester, England, Romero will now square off against 26-year-old Robert Whittaker for the interim 185-pound belt. This will serve as the UFC 213 co-main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 8.

UFC 213 will be headlined by Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes became the women’s bantamweight champion by scoring a first-round KO over Miesha Tate at UFC 200 last summer. Then in her first title defense, the Brazilian striker destroyed Ronda Rousey by KO in merely 48 seconds.

Nunes has won five consecutive fights, including a unanimous-decision victory over Shevchenko at UFC 196. ‘The Lioness’s other four wins during her current surge have come by first-round finishes. She has bagged three Performance of the Night bonuses during this winning streak.

Most books have this women’s scrap listed as a pick ’em (-115 either way). There are no odds out yet for Whittaker-Romero.

What does the promotion have in store for Dillashaw while Garbrandt is on the shelf for now? Well, White said in an ESPN interview earlier this week that the UFC was trying to book Dillashaw against Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, the long-time flyweight champion. However, Johnson tweeted Tuesday night that he was waiting on a contract to fight Ray Borg rather than Dillashaw. In fact, he went on to send another tweet stating that Dillashaw needed to drop down to 125 and get a win before deserving a shot at his belt.

Ok, the only acceptable motivation for Johnson here is that he’s trying to negotiate more money for him to take on Dillashaw. If that’s the case, I have no problem with it. Nearly the entire roster is underpaid and Johnson has a legit beef in that regard. But if Johnson wants to increase his street cred, the Dillashaw fight is undoubtedly the way to go and it’s not even a conversation. We’ll see what happens…

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