Vitor Belfort withdrew from the UFC 173 main event. | Photo:
It did not take long for the shockwaves to be felt.
Lyoto Machida will replace Vitor Belfort and challenge Chris Weidman for his Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight crown in the UFC 173 main event on May 24 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Machida was inserted into the lineup mere hours after the Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban the use of testosterone replacement therapy.
Belfort had been granted therapeutic use exemptions for TRT in the past. The 36-year-old Brazilian has rattled off three straight wins but became one of MMA’s more polarizing subjects because of his use of testosterone replacement therapy. In a release issued on Friday, UFC officials said Belfort “recognizes that he needs an extended period of time to become licensed in the state of Nevada.”
Machida has posted back-to-back wins since moving to the middleweight division.
“With today’s ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who’s undefeated since dropping to 185 pounds, will fight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 in May,” UFC President Dana White said. “Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz.
“He’s earned this shot at Weidman, who’s coming off two straight wins over the greatest fighter of all-time, Anderson Silva,” he added. “Machida wants nothing more than to avenge the losses of his friend and training partner and become just the third fighter in UFC history to win titles in two separate weight classes.”
With a victory over Weidman, Machida would join B.J. Penn and Randy Couture as the only men to win UFC titles in more than one weight class.
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