Ben Rothwell out for nine months following ACL surgery

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 02:  Ben Rothwell (yellow) of the Quad Cities Silverbacks celebrates after defeating Krzysztof Soszynski of the Los Angeles Anacondas during the IFL semifinals at the Continental Airlines Arena on August 2, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images for IFL)

Nate Lawson of is reporting bad news for fighter Ben Rothwell.

This past Tuesday, UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell underwent surgery to repair his ACL and torn meniscus. The surgery comes under two months after his unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Yvel at UFC 115. reported the news earlier this morning.

Rothwell stated that he sustained the injury during his first takedown against Yvel in a fight that drew a lot of criticism from Dana White, who was seemingly very unhappy with Rothwell’s inability to finish the fight. The Wisconsin native expects a return in the first quarter of 2011, but has already began physical therapy. He will be able to start back up on strength training in three months.

The victory over Yvel pushed Rothwell’s record to an impressive 31-7, but was only his first fighting under the UFC banner. In his debut with the promotion at UFC 104, Rothwell was battered for the better part of 5:58 by current top contender Cain Velasquez. He was scheduled to face Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in his second UFC contest, but had to withdraw due to illness.

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The 5 Biggest Threats to Brock Lesnar’s Belt

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Despite defeating Shane Carwin in UFC 116, Brock Lesnar nearly was knocked out in the fight’s opening round. Did Carwin prove that the heavyweight champion’s game is flawed? Nate Lawson of breaks down the five biggest threats to Lesnar’s heavyweight belt, including Cain Velasquez.

Cain Velasquez

Heavy MMA HW Rank: 4

Record: 8-0

Last Five Fights: W-W-W-W-W

Notable Victories: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (KO), Ben Rothwell (TKO)

Notable Losses: None

Next Opponent: Brock Lesnar for UFC heavyweight championship, date undecided

Status: Velasquez has risen to the top of the heavyweight division in a relatively short time and was put on the shelf awaiting the winner of Lesnar vs. Carwin. Lesnar took home the victory and the belt, and now Velasquez has the next shot at stealing away Lesnar’s hardware.

To read the rest of the breakdown of Velasquez, as well as the other four threats to Lesnar’s belt, click here.

UFC 115 Picks & Predictions

UFC 115: Liddell vs. Franklin takes place tonight from the General Motors Palace in Vancouver, British Columbia. The card is pretty solid but not overwhelming. Here are my thoughts on each of the main card bouts.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Chuck Liddell (21-7) vs. Rich Franklin (27-5) – Both of these guys are past their prime and looking for another win to add to their career list. Liddell looks to be in great shape for the fight but unless he changes the way he fights, he is probably in trouble. Franklin is a more technical striker and he utilizes body kicks, which Liddell will have trouble with. I expect Franklin to use his jab to keep Liddell and bay and slowly wear him down before scoring a big punch that leads to a finish in the third round.

Heavyweight Bout – Mirko Cro Cop (26-7) vs. Pat Barry (5-1) – This should be a very entertaining fight as neither fighter wants it to go to the ground and both are excellent with their kicks. Unfortunately for Cro Cop, he has lost his killer instinct that made him a star and his apprehension will allow Barry to set the tone with his brutal leg kicks. Look for Barry to win this fight by a TKO in the second round.

Welterweight Bout – Paulo Thiago (13-1) vs. Martin Kampmann (16-3) – Kampmann seems to be getting overlooked in this fight as he is a tough guy to beat and he is very well-rounded. Thiago is probably over-confident in his striking after his last win over Mike Swick, but that will play into Kampmann’s favor. Look for the Dane to get a decision victory as he dictates the pacing and location of the bout.
Heavyweight Bout – Ben Rothwell (30-7) vs. Gilbert Yvel (36-14-1) – These are two big sluggers that are going to probably tire themselves out early in the fight. The key to victory will be the bigger size and better wrestling skill of Rothwell, who should be able to use his weight to lay on Yvel and tire him out quicker. Once Yvel is gassed, look for Rothwell to pounce and score a second round TKO win.

Welterweight Bout – Carlos Condit (24-5) vs. Rory MacDonald (10-0) – There is a lot of promise in MacDonald, who is just 20-years-old, but he is stepping up in competition with this fight against the experienced Condit. Condit will be ready anywhere the fight goes and MacDonald still has some learning to do before he can get into contender status. Look for Condit to out-class MacDonald on their feet and on the ground as he scores a decision win.

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