Franca Out of UFC Fight Night Main Event

By Loretta Hunt Jan 27, 2009
Hermes Franca has bowed out of the main event tilt against Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 17 on Feb. 7 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. Franca announced Monday that he’d torn the anterior crucial ligament in his right knee on the popular Underground Forum at mixedmartialarts.com.

Lauzon has been notified of Franca’s withdrawal by UFC officials, but has not been offered a new opponent yet for the lightweight bout, confirmed a member of his Bridgewater, Mass., camp on Monday evening. Franca did not answer calls for comment.

The injury comes at an inopportune time for the Brazilian immigrant. Posting losses to former champion Sean Sherk and Frankie Edgar in 2007 and 2008, Franca (19-7) got himself back on track with a unanimous decision win over former teammate Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90 in October.

Lauzon (17-4) has posted seven wins in eight fights, losing only to the world-ranked Kenny Florian in that time span. A product of season five of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, the 24-year-old has never gone to a decision in 21 professional bouts.

Lauzon last appeared at UFC Fight Night 15 in September, when he stopped Kyle Bradley on second-round strikes. He has secured 13 of his 17 career wins by submission and holds victories against former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver and reigning World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight titleholder Mike Thomas Brown.

In another pivotal lightweight battle on the card, Mac Danzig, season six winner of “The Ultimate Fighter, will square off with the durable Josh Neer, as the UFC makes its first stop in the Sunshine State since June 2007.

Brian Knapp contributed to this article.
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