Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort has been granted his wish and will compete on January 14 when the organization returns to Brazil with UFC 142. Though Belfort had expressed his desire to face Chael Sonnen, he has instead drawn a debuting 185er in the form of Anthony Johnson who will be moving up a division after a solid dose of success as a welterweight.
The UFC revealed the bout earlier today through their Twitter account.
While on the surface it may appear Johnson would be the smaller man, “Rumble” is actually taller than Belfort and has long been known for cutting a ridiculous amount of weight to make 170 pounds. The 27-year old is 10-3 in his career with wins in five of his last six scraps including four strike-based stoppages. He is currently on a two-fight run with victories over Dan Hardy and Charlie Brenneman.
Belfort has also been finishing opponents left and right as of late, the most recent example being Yoshihiro Akiyama who he knocked out in less than two minutes when they met this past August at UFC 133. The result marked his twentieth instance of in-ring success including wins against Matt Lindland, Wanderlei Silva, and Rich Franklin.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: I’d be lying if I said this bout didn’t catch me a bit off-guard. Not only was Johnson’s name never mentioned in relation to a bout with Belfort but he’d won his last two fights, came in on weight, and hadn’t hinted at a move to 185. Regardless, the pairing should produce a terrific result since both are powerful strikers who aren’t afraid to bang it out.