With Quinton Jackson likely sidelined with a lingering jaw injury and rumored hand injury, Lyoto Machida is expected to challenge UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans for the title in the main event of UFC 98 on May 23rd in Las Vegas.
Evans informed Sherdog on Monday that Jackson was likely to need time off before fighting for the title and that Machida would be his likely opponent at UFC 98. Sportsnet.ca adds that UFC.com posted banners with the title “UFC 98: Evans vs. Jackson” and added the bout to the official UFC 98 lineup on Sunday only to have it taken down on Monday. Finally, the British tabloid The Sun is reporting that the injuries will indeed prevent “Rampage” from facing Evans at UFC 98 and Lyoto Machida will instead challenge for the title.
The UFC has not yet officially announced an opponent for Evans and is likely to hold off announcing Machida until they’re absolutely sure Jackson will be unable to make the quick turnaround and fight again in May. If Jackson is unable to fight he remains likely to challenge the winner of the UFC 98 main event later this year.
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Update from Kris Karkoski on 3/9/2009 at 4:30pm ET
UFC President Dana White has confirmed to Yahoo Sports that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has torn ligaments in his jaw as well as a hyperextended left elbow and will undergo surgery next week that will prevent him from training for a minimum of five weeks, officilly knocking him out of the UFC 98 main event. White also confirmed that Lyoto Machida will square off with title-holder Rashad Evans in the UFC 98 headliner.