Soares: Silva-Belfort Up to Doctor, ‘Shogun’ Can Beat Machida

By Lutfi Sariahmed Oct 19, 2009
A proposed middleweight championship bout between titleholder Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort at UFC 108 on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas has yet to be cemented as Silva recovers from recent elbow surgery.

“It's not locked down yet,” Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Monday. “We'd all like to take that fight on January 2nd. We're just waiting on the doctor approving of Anderson to train again. Until the doctor's approval, we can't confirm that fight. We're waiting on the doctor's release to be able to start training. He's doing physical therapy. He's doing OK. But the doctor knows best at this point.”

Soares has been outspoken about the bout that could have easily gone to contenders Dan Henderson or Nate Marquardt before Belfort dispatched Rich Franklin in just three minutes at UFC 103 on Sept 19 in Dallas. The bout, held at a 195-pound catch-weight, was Belfort’s first with the promotion since 2005.

“Like I've said before, we want to fight the best and Vitor Belfort right now I don't feel he deserves a title shot -- it's how we feel,” said Soares. “But at the end of the day we're not the matchmaker. We fight for the UFC and whatever the UFC wants we're going to stand behind and do. But it doesn't mean that we think it’s fair. I'd rather it be at 195 pounds, but if it’s for the title it's for the title.”

Meanwhile, Soares said his other champion client, UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, is prepared for the vintage Mauricio “Shogun” Rua that streaked through Pride Fighting Championships’ middleweight grand prix in 2005. Machida makes his first title defense against the fellow Brazilian at UFC 104 this Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“I think that he's the same fighter, I just think that his performances haven't shown that,” said Soares. “But I think he's getting better. I think he had a good training camp. I definitely know that he didn't take this fight lightly so I guess we're going to have to see Saturday night. But I believe that Shogun has the tools to beat Lyoto. He does. And that's what's going to make this fight interesting.”

Soares also reiterated that Silva and Machida, friends and training partners at the team’s private Black House gym in Los Angeles, would never meet in the cage, despite the promotion’s best efforts to match them together at a later date.

“That won't happen,” said Soares. “Anderson is most likely going to be cornering Lyoto this fight.”

However, that doesn't mean Soares has ruled out every fight between his clients and teammates.

“I'll tell you one fight that's going to be a difficult one to go, Rogerio (Nogueira) is coming to the UFC, and I think if Rogerio puts on some good performances and Lyoto keeps on defending his title, that's going to be a fight that, unfortunately for us, is two of our guys fighting each other.”
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