Middleweights Vitor Belfort and Jacare Souza will square-off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 87 on May 14th in Brazil.
Giovani Decker, UFC Brazil General Manager and Senior Vice President, made the announcement on Combatante TV. Both Brazilians were earlier considered to be UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold’s potential first title challenger after Yoel Romero’s potential failed drug test. Instead, they will face each other in a bout that will likely determine the #1 contender position.
Getting Another Title Shot
Belfort, a former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, is fresh off a first round KO of Dan Henderson last November. The former UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament champion fought and lost to Chris Weidman at UFC 187 in his second attempt to wrest the UFC 185-pound title. He also lost to Anderson Silva at UFC 126. Belfort is 4-1 in his current run at Middleweight which includes a first round KO win over current UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in the latter’s UFC debut in 2013. All his wins have been by KO and were either Knockout of the Night or Performance of the Night winners. The 38-year old Phenom has an overall record of 25-11 with 18 KOs. He was linked to a rematch with Anderson Silva but turned it down in the hopes of getting another title shot. Beating Souza will put him one step closer to that goal.
Getting a Rockhold Rematch
While Belfort is coming off a victory, Souza is coming off a close split decision loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 194 last month. Prior to that defeat, the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion won eight consecutive bouts, including 5 in the UFC. The former ADCC Grappling champion and World Jiu- Jitsu champion holds impressive victories over Jason Miller, Tim Kennedy, Yushin Okami, Gegard Mousasi and current UFC Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. The 36 year old Souza has an overall record of 24-3-0-2 with 16 submissions. He was high on the list of 185 title contenders prior to his loss to Romero. However with Romero facing a potential suspension, a win over Belfort should give him a rematch against Rockhold who once beat him for the Strikeforce Middleweight title.
The battle between these two Brazilian stars in their home country should be a blockbuster affair. It will be interesting to see which of them gets another shot at UFC Middleweight gold.