Lance Pugmire of The Los Angeles Times is reporting that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will be defending his title against Vitor Belfort at UFC 108 on January 2nd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to the report, company president Dana White confirmed that both sides have verbally agreed to the bout and the only thing standing in the way is Silva’s recovery from a recent elbow surgery.
Here’s an excerpt from Pugmire’s LA Times blog:
Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White told The Times his organization has struck verbal deals for Anderson Silva to defend his middleweight championship against Vitor Belfort on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas.
Silva is currently riding an 11-fight winning streak and was last seen slapping Forrest Griffin upside his melon at UFC 101. Before Belfort’s arrival, Silva has had a tough time finding 185-pound competition that would keep him motivated and hungry.
Speaking of motivated, Belfort, a former UFC light heavyweight champ himself, must have had a shot of adrenaline injected into his system after he was informed by White that he had earned himself a shot at Silva’s strap following his impressive 1stRound knockout of Rich Franklin at UFC 102.
This news doesn’t really come as a surprise to most in the MMA community, however, don’t expect either of the other two top middleweight contenders, Dan Henderson or Nate Marquardt, to be too pleased with the final verdict.
With Silva slated for a January scrap, the timing for a Henderson/Marquardt bout would be perfect. In addition, it will provide a true test as to who is the real #1 contender after Belfort gets his crack at the beginning of the year.