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Rampage Jackson Needs Jaw Surgery, So UFC Gives Lyoto Machida Title Shot

When Quinton "Rampage" Jackson beat Keith Jardine in the main event at UFC 96 on Saturday night, he earned a title shot against the UFC's light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans.

But Jackson won't get that title shot just yet. He needs surgery to repair a jaw injury, and as a result the UFC will give the next title shot to Lyoto Machida, who will fight Evans in the main event at UFC 98.

UFC President Dana White told Kevin Iole on Wednesday that doctors who checked Jackson out this week diagnosed him with torn ligaments in his jaw. Jackson will have surgery on the jaw next week and also needs time off because of a hyperextended elbow.

White said he thinks Jackson had earned the right to fight Evans, but that Machida is also a worthy contender.

"Rampage deserved the [title shot], but this is an awesome main event," White told Iole. "A lot of people were complaining to me that Lyoto should have had the shot first. I think it's going to be a great fight and Rampage can go get himself healthy. ... It's not the end of the world because we have a great fight to put on. It shows you the kind of guy that Rampage is – that he was willing to sacrifice and take this fight because we needed him. You don't forget things like that."

Fierce Action at UFC 96

    Rampage Jackson enters the ring before his match with Keith Jardine at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine posture before their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine kicks Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine kicks Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson and Keith Jardine grapple during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine, right, punches Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson punches Keith Jardine during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Keith Jardine kicks Rampage Jackson during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson clocks Keith Jardine during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC

    Rampage Jackson punches Keith Jardine during their match at UFC 96 on March 7, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.

    Josh Hedges, UFC



Evans told UFC.com that he's ready for the challenge that the undefeated Machida poses:
"This is my time to shine," said Evans. "I worked hard to get this title and I'm not about to give it up now. I've got a lot of respect for Machida and I know we're going to give the fans a great fight, but I also know that he's going to bring out the best of me on May 23rd, and that's going to be a sight to see."
The Evans-Machida fight at UFC 98 will take place on May 23. Other fights on that card include Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra, Yushin Okami vs. Dan Miller, Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar, James Irvin vs. Drew McFedries, Houston Alexander vs. Andre Gusmao, Patrick Barry vs. Tim Hague, Phillipe
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Nover vs. Kyle Bradley, Dave Kaplan vs. George Roop and Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Brandon Wolff.