UFC 133 fight card: Jorge Rivera vs Constantino Philippou match-up much more than meets the eye

If one didn't know any better, one might be inclined to think that Jorge Rivera is cursed.

That's because the UFC moved mountains to put together a match-up between himself and Italian striker Alessio Sakara. The prevailing thought was that the match-up would prove palatable for even the most jaded of fight fans.

Which is why matchmakers were so persistent in their charge.

However, various factors stopped the bout from ever coming to fruition, including as a part of the main card at tonight's UFC 133: "Evans vs. Ortiz 2" pay-per-view (PPV) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In Sakara's stead will be little known Cypriot, Constantinos Philippou.

It would be easy to pass off the replacement fight as nothing more than filler but that would be doing it a grave injustice. There is much more at stake than meets the eye; much more indeed.

Rivera, at 39-years-old, is as contemplative as ever. The longtime combat veteran has been around the block a few times and the daily grind of ice baths and hard training has taken its toll.

His old bones can only go for so much longer.

And after his crushing defeat at the hands -- and illegal knees -- of Michael Bisping back at UFC 127 in February, just one day before his birthday, "El Conquistador" is knocking on the door that leads to retirement.

At this point, even the slightest bump can push him through it.

That's the potential role open to be filled by Philippou, himself on the brink of unemployment. When you're face is unrecognizable and your name is unfamiliar, it takes something special, something momentous to put yourself on the map.

Sending a veteran into retirement on the main card of a relatively major PPV event would do just that.

So instead of using this fight as a bathroom break or a chance to get your popcorn ready for better match-ups, remember exactly what's at stake when these two meet in the center of the cage to do battle.

It's more than you think.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker