On the heels of yesterday’s shocking announcement that the UFC had sold a 10% stake in their company to Flash Entertainment of Abu Dhabi, it appears UFC 112 will now host two title fights in their new partner’s backyard.
Fabiano Farah, Vitor Belfort’s manager, confirmed with MMAjunkie.com early Wednesday morning that his client will indeed challenge UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for his title on April 10th in Abu Dhabi.
It was reported last week that Silva was finally back in the gym training after undergoing elbow surgery in October. He hasn’t appeared to be in much of a rush to get back to action after UFC brass informed him Belfort was going to be his next foe.
The middleweight fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 108 on January 2nd, however was postponed due to complications with Silva’s recovery that prevented him from training properly for a 5Round affair.
Silva was last seen jabbing Forrest Griffin into unconsciousness at UFC 101 this past August. “The Spider” is currently riding an 11 straight-fight win streak, finishing off 10 of those opponents before the final bell. He’s as close to unbeatable as they come in the world of mixed martial arts, however don’t expect Belfort to lay down for anyone.
In his return to the Octagon at UFC 103, the former UFC light heavyweight champion knocked out Rich Franklin in a 195-pound catchweight bout. Belfort has rolled off five consecutive wins of his own, including a couple victories for the now-defunct Affliction.
Word broke last Tuesday that both camps have contacted Carlos Santos, the leader of the New Emirates team in Abu Dhabi, to inquire about training in the Middle East. According to Santos, both Brazilians plan on training in the facility the days leading up to their April 10th showdown.
“Vitor called me and Anderson’s guys too, wanting to know how is the country’s weather, where is it going to happen and how easy is to them to train here,” Santos told TATAME.com. “I said that are the best as possible and the doors of Emirates Team ADCC Club are open to everyone, not just the facilities as our athletes to train with them. Besides them, there’s Renzo [Gracie], who’s always here with us and maybe come a month before to be here training with us.”
Most would question if a single training facility is capable of housing two major league fighters and their entourages at the same time, but Santos reiterated there was plenty of room for all.
“We know all of them and, as I said, they have open doors,” Santos said of his packed house. “There’s space to all of them. We’re here to help everyone, especially if they are our friends and Brazilians. The Club is pretty big and we can share hours and spaces to both, with no problem at all.”
Here are the fighters rumored to participate in the UFC’s debut in Abu Dhabi:
Kendall Grove vs. TBD
Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie
Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn (UFC Lightweight Champion)
Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion)