Vitor Belfort is the clear cut number one contender in the UFC’s middle weight division. This is a statement of fact. And outside of a split decision in the upcoming rematch between Weidman and Silva. There’s no reason to move onto a rubber match, not only would it be pointless, but flat out boring. I'm not quite sure why the UFC is still reluctant to cash in on a title match with the 2nd scariest man (Jon Jones taking first honors) in the UFC right now.
THE MATCH UPS:
(BELFORT V. SILVA) Anderson Silva has reigned at the top of this division for what feels like ages. His style and that of Belfort complement each other as extreme opposites. Silva’s stone faced taunts coupled with his graceful finesse match up contrasts nicely against that of the explosive rapid fire, up-tempo pace that Belfort brings. It’s the classic Fire and Ice scenario.
(V. WEIDMAN) Weidman and Belfort match up well as both pack heavy hands. Essentially what you have here are two hard hitting strikers that wont shy away from a slug fest.
Both matches have potential KO of the night written all over them, especially the latter.
How did Weidman skip passed Belfort to begin with?
Unlike Weidman, Belfort has made himself a household name within the middle weight division, let alone the UFC. And in all honesty I've been following the UFC and Pride since their tournament days, so seeing Weidman getting a title shot almost out of the blue, while skirting by the legitimate contenders who'd been knocking at the door for years (Bisbing, Belfort) was puzzling. This is not to say he wasn't a a legitimate opponent as he obviously proved to be much more than that, but more that he hadn't yet paid his dues for that title shot. So now you're left with a guy that if he does beat Silva again still has a long way in terms of marketing himself as a crowd drawing headliner. "It will prove to be a sort of a Weidman who??", problem.
The problem I have with all of this...
Going back to Belfort, so instead of rewarding a living legend like Belfort-- who's gone through the middle weights in a manner that rivals what Jon Jones is doing at light-heavy-- he's been cast into possible dog fights with both Lyoto Machida or Rashard Evans, who've yet to do anything at middle-weight. This is a very obvious attempt to steal his thunder.
The Machida match itself is likely to end up as a snooze fest. You'll likely see Machida rely on his world class circling ability (bicycle) to evade the Belfort’s bull charges in hopes for a favourable judge’s decision-- because at his current pace there is no chink in Belfort’s striking and mental game to suggest anything other than this sort of outcome. Instead Machida should earn his stripes at middle weight like everyone has.
The other alternative is to snub Belfort altogether and match either Machida or one of the guys Belfort has mangled against the Middle Weight Champion, which in either outcome only goes to tarnish the sport and its matchmaking process as arbitrary and just flat out stupid.
All of this is due to two factors, Belfort’s age and his use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). As far as the age question, who cares how long Belfort reigns at the top of the middle weight division. Old school UFC fans and the many legions of Brazilian Belfort supporters would love nothing more than to see the old lion take one last victory lap before the curtain draws. A win by Belfort here could solidify the UFC's middle weight division as the one of the organizations crown jewels- rivaling the dominance of the light-heavyweight bracket-- lopsidedly ruled by Jon Jones.
The response for TRT is much more to the point, if you didn’t want him as your champion why let him fight anyone to begin with, especially Knocking out all your top talent!
In summary the UFC owes it to not just Belfort, but to its fans to see this guy fight for the belt one last time, not down the road but now! Win, lose or draw, this guy has been terrorizing the middleweight division for well over a year and has already been side-stepped by Weidman himself. Give Belfort the damn fight and let the chips fall where they will.
And as a betting man, you can take it to the bank that Belfort will take the middle-weight belt.
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