Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vitor Belfort Out With Shoulder Injury, Anderson Silva Needs New Opponent for UFC 112 In Abu Dhabi

Former UFC champion Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort (19-8) has injured his shoulder during training and has been scratched from his upcoming middleweight title fight with Anderson "The Spider" Silva (25-4) at UFC 112. The news was first reported by Brazilian MMA site and has since been confirmed by UFC President Dana White through Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.

UFC 112 represents the promotion's highly-anticipated middle east debut in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. It was originally scheduled to feature two title fights, with BJ Penn vs. Frankie Edgar serving as the co-main event, but it is now unclear if another credible middleweight challenger can be found to face Silva in time for the event.

The most obvious candidate is Chael Sonnen (24-10-1) who defeated top-challenger Nate Marquardt (29-9-2) at last Saturday's UFC 109, but Sonnen's forehead was severely cut in that fight which may make it impossible for him to get in a full training camp in time for April 10th.

Other middleweight challengers are either coming off of a recent loss [Nate Marquardt, Demian Maia (12-1), Yushin Okami (23-5) ] or in need of another big victory [Alan Belcher (15-6)]. That leaves almost nobody in the MW division that could conceivably face Anderson Silva besides Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1) who has only one octagon win dating back to August 2009, and Dan Henderson (25-7) who recently signed with UFC rival Strikeforce.

Another option might be for Anderson Silva to face a top light heavyweight, but, after what "The Spider" did to Forrest Griffin (17-6), the UFC may be somewhat reluctant. The possibility of Thiago Silva (14-2) facing Anderson comes to mind, but a match with Randy Couture (18-2) would be much more marketable. It is also possible that "The Spider" could be matched with a heavyweight fighter. He has expressed interest in fighting Frank Mir at that weight class in the past.

Vitor Belfort's withdrawal from UFC 112 has created a tough riddle for their head matchmaker, Joe Silva, but he has rarely let fans down in the past. Of course, there is also the possibility that Anderson Silva's next fight will simply be pushed back until either Sonnen or Belfort is ready to go.

More on this story as it develops.

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