‘The Phenom’ Vitor Belfort (21-10) looks to be making his return to middleweight after a last minute 205 pound title shot. Set to welcome him back is none other than Michael “The Count” Bisping (23-4) as the UFC has now verified. The match-up is targeted for the UFC’s upcoming Brazil card (presumably Rio), UFC FX or Fuel on Jan. 19th. The event is also rumored to headline a re-scheduled featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar.
Belfort may be stepping off a loss to the LHW champ, Jones at UFC 152, but that doesn’t mean his stock drops much. Vitor came within inches of submitting the originally thought invincible Jones in the first – before suffering a submission (keylock) loss in the fourth. Prior to the loss, Belfort carried back-to-back finishes against Anthony Johnson and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Bisping on the other hand steps off a decision win over Brian Stann on the same 152 card. Overall, the perennial contender has been 5-1 since May 2010. Of those victories, two have came by way of TKO. As Bisping has adamantly said time and time again, he’s knocking on the title door, and with a win over Belfort, Bisping may lock his destiny as next in line for a title shot with middleweight great Anderson Silva. Of course that is if a super-fight between “The Spider” and St-Pierre does not obstruct the match-up.
Here’s the line-up as it stands.
Middleweight: Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping
Middleweight: C.B. Dollaway vs. Daniel Sarafian
Heavyweight: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell
Lightweight: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Thiago Tavares
Bantamweight: Yuri Alcantara vs. George Roop
Featherweight: Godofredo Castro vs. Milton Vieira
Middleweight: Andrew Craig vs. Ronny Markes
Featherweight: Nik Lentz vs. Diego Nunes
Lightweight: Edson Barboza vs. Justin Salas
Middleweight: Michael Kuiper vs. Thiago Perpeto
Light Heavyweight: Roger Hollett vs. Wagner Prado
Lightweight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. C.J. Keith