Rashad Evans — not Keith Jardine — will face Tito Ortiz at UFC 73 on July 7, according to a recent report from Sam Caplan on his Five Ounces of Pain blog.
Caplan — a regular contributor to the CBSSportsline.com coverage of mixed martial arts — recently heard word from the horses mouth, UFC President Dana White.
Here's a snip:
"It's been reported in multiple outlets that Tito Ortiz will fight Keith Jardine at UFC 71 in May. I believe Tito may have even confirmed the bout himself. However, while interviewing Dana White for CBS Sportsline yesterday Dana indicated Tito's opponent at UFC 71 will be Rashad Evans so I'm not so sure he'll be fighting Jardine."
(Note: This bout has since been moved to UFC 73 on July 7 -- it is no longer scheduled for UFC 71).Ã‚Â
While Caplan doesn't seem 100 percent convinced, it does cast doubt on the likelihood of a Jardine-Ortiz showdown.
And, I can't say that I'm too upset about the possible revelation.
Evans is on course for a crack at the 205-pound belt sometime this year, provided he can get through top competition in the division. His sensational knockout of Sean Salmon at UFC Fight Night 8 in January was nice, but the opponent didn't do much to build him as a legit threat to the titleholder.
A win over Ortiz, however, would launch him instantly into the mix.
Caplan notes that his exclusive interview with White will appear on CBSSportsline.com in the next couple of days. We'll pass it along as soon as it becomes available.