UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has withdrawn from his scheduled title defense against Brazilian Vitor Belfort.

Champ is injured

According to UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, Weidman suffered a hairline fracture in in his hand, which has caused the postponement of the bout to February 2015. The exact date and venue of the rematch has yet to be announced. UFC President Dana White also said that Weidman’s hand will be in a cast for four weeks and he is expected to be cleared for contact after six weeks.

With the Injury, Weidman will end 2014 with just a single fight – his unanimous decision win over Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 last July. That win marked his second defense of the title which he won from longtime champion Anderson Silva last year. He also made his first successful title defense against Silva last December 2013

Here’s Johny

Replacing the Weidman-Belfort fight as main event of UFC 181 will be the rematch between UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler. Hendricks has been out of action since his victory over Lawler March 15 with a right bicep injury.

A couple of week ago, Hendricks’ camp had declared that their fighter fully healed and is already “ready to accept a fight” but said that since the UFC’s schedule until January has been booked, they were looking at a February fight. Weidman’s injury now moves Hendricks’ timetable forward.

Ruthless’ Rematch

Robbie Lawler has earned his rematch after back to back victories over Jake Ellenberger in May and Matt Brown last July. The 32 year old Lawler is 5-1 with 3 KOs in the UFC. Hendricks and Lawler went toe to toe in a back and forth battle during their first encounter last March. The bout was pretty much even after four rounds before Hendricks mustered enough firepower in the fifth and final round to pull of the win and capture the title vacated by Georges St. Pierre.

Despite the postponement of Weidman-Belfort, UFC 181 looks to be a solid card with the lightweight title match of Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melen.

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