By Adam Martin
With rumors of a UFC sale swirling on Tuesday night, the promotion revealed some unfortunate news to the fans. Anderson Silva, the former middleweight kingpin, was pulled from this weekend's UFC 198 card due to needing immediate gallbladder surgery, which he had Wednesday. The surgery was deemed a success, but Silva will need 4-6 weeks to recover, and now his opponent for UFC 198, Uriah Hall, is without a fight.
It's a disappointing late development, but considering the card hadn't suffered any other significant injuries to this point, it's not entirely shocking that an injury forced the scratch of at least one bout. Unfortunately, that was to Silva -- one of Brazil's biggest stars -- and now the fight with Hall, which was especially intriguing, will not happen. That being said, even without Silva vs. Hall, this is still a fantastic event from top to bottom, one of the best cards the UFC has put together all year.
In the main event, UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum puts his title on the line for the first time when he takes on #1 contender Stipe Miocic. This is a tremendous matchup between two elite heavyweights with very few holes in their respective games, and it should be very exciting for however long it lasts.
The same can be said of the co-main event, which is a middleweight bout between top contenders Vitor Belfort and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. This is actually one of only two Brazilian vs. Brazilian fights on the entire card, but regardless of the fighters' nationalities, this is just a really good matchup between two middleweights with finishing ability who are looking for a rematch with UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold.
Also on the main card, Cris Cyborg will finally make her UFC debut against Leslie Smith. Considering the size difference, it looks like a mismatch on paper, but this showcase fight should be exciting for however long it goes. The other two main card bouts, between Curitiba's own Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Corey Anderson, and Warlley Alves vs. Bryan Barberena, are also two very exciting bouts.
What makes UFC 198 special, though, is that the preliminary card is ridiculously stacked. In the main event of the televised prelims, Demian Maia takes on Matt Brown in a fight between two welterweights looking to break into the top five of the division. On almost any other card, this would occupy one of the top three slots on the main card. The other fights on the TV portion of the prelims are also quite good. The red-hot Thiago Santos takes on Nate Marquardt in what should be a fun one, Francisco Trinaldo battles Yancy Medeiros in a fight between two underrated lightweights, and in probably the most exciting prelim of them all, John Lineker fights Rob Font.
In addition to the TV prelims, the Fight Pass prelims shouldn't be ignored either. The featured Fight Pass prelim is a light heavyweight bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Pat
Cummins, while Luan Chagas takes on Sergio Moraes and Renato Moicano fights Zuibara Tukhugov. From top to bottom, this is a damn good card.
It's unfortunate that Anderson Silva is off the card, but the rest of the fights will make up for it. UFC 198, at least on paper, is one of the better cards the UFC has put together in a long time, and is definitely a must-watch event for the fans this weekend.
UFC 198: Werdum vs. Miocic takes place on May 14, 2016 at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil.