Will the fourth time be the charm for Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort? | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
A long-delayed middleweight title showdown between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort has been booked for UFC 187.
The matchup was announced on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight. The 185-pound pairing will serve as the evening’s co-main event. In addition, Donald Cerrone will square off against Khabib Nurmagomedov in a pivotal lightweight tilt. UFC 187 takes place in Las Vegas on May 23 and is headlined by a light heavyweight title clash pitting Jon Jones against Anthony Johnson.
Weidman-Belfort was expected to take place at UFC 184 on Feb. 28, but the bout was postponed when Weidman had to withdraw due to a rib injury. Before that, the fight was scheduled for UFC 181, but a broken hand suffered by the Serra-Longo Fight Team product ahead of the event nixed those plans. The fighters were initially paired at UFC 173, but Belfort had to pull out after the Nevada Athletic Commission banned testosterone replacement therapy.
Weidman captured the middleweight crown with a first-round knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC 162 and then vanquished “The Spider” again in a rematch at UFC 168. His most recent title defense came at UFC 175, when he earned a five-round verdict against Lyoto Machida on July 5.
Belfort has not competed since a banner 2013 saw him score knockout victories over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson in succession. The victories were controversial because “The Phenom” was receiving TRT at the time.
Cerrone has won seven straight fights dating back to a second-round submission of Evan Dunham at UFC 167. In his most recent outing, “Cowboy” garnered a contentious unanimous decision against Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night in Boston on Jan. 18.
Nurmagomedov is unbeaten in 22 professional appearances, including six inside the Octagon. “The Eagle” last competed at UFC on Fox 11 this past April, when he took a unanimous decision over Rafael dos Anjos.