It didn’t take long for the UFC to find Vitor Belfort another fight.
The Brazilian legend is expected to face former middleweight champion Michael Bisping in the UFC Fight Night 127 main event in London, England, Globo reported Sunday. The UFC has not yet confirmed the pairing.
Belfort was supposed to face Uriah Hall in the UFC Fight Night 124 co-main event in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday night. But his opponent had weight-cutting difficulties and was pulled from the card. The bout was expected to be Belfort’s retirement fight.
Bisping (30-9) has lost two in a row. He lost the 185-pound title at UFC 217 in November to Georges St-Pierre via third-round submission and three weeks later, lost to Kelvin Gastelum on short notice via first-round knockout. He won the belt in June 2016 with an upset of Luke Rockhold and defended it once in a rematch against Dan Henderson.
Prior to any announcement of his involvement on the London event, Bisping said he wanted to have his last fight on the card.
In his last bout, Belfort (26-13, 1 NC) got back into the winning column with a close decision win over Nate Marquardt at June’s UFC 212 in Brazil. Prior to that, he dropped three straight to Gastelum, Gegard Mousasi, and Ronaldo Souza — all by finish — but the Gastelum fight was overturned when his opponent tested positive for marijuana.
Bisping vs. Belfort will serve as a rematch. The middleweights first met in January 2013; Belfort stopped Bisping with strikes in the second round.
UFC Fight Night 127 takes place at O2 Arena on March 17. Also booked for the card is a light-heavyweight rematch between top contender Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz.
UPDATE (4:55 p.m. ET): MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani reported that Globo’s Bisping-Belfort 2 report is not true. Helwani said Bisping told him that he doesn’t want to be “associated” with Belfort “in the slightest.
“I detest Vitor,” Bisping said.
A report surfaced earlier today that Michael Bisping v Vitor Belfort is in the works for London in March. I asked @bisping if that was true. He said 100% not true. He also said, “I detest Vitor. Do not want to be associated with him in the slightest.”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 14, 2018
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