The UFC may not be going to Brazil in March, but they’ve got a big fight planned for May, announcing on Tuesday that Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will meet Vitor Belfort in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on May 14.
The announcement likely means that Luke Rockhold’s first defense of the UFC Middleweight Championship will come against the man he took it from, Chris Weidman. He’d wanted a bout with Belfort, and the other option, Yoel Romero, is out of the picture after failing a drug test.
Romero had edged past Souza by split decision at UFC 194, getting the nod after a fence grab improved his position in the second and after gouging Souza’s eyes in the third. “Jacare” and his team still feel they deserved the nod, and could be right back into title contention with a win here over Belfort.
For his part, Belfort could strengthen a case for a title fight with a win here, as Rockhold already wants a rematch to avenge the result from their 2013 meeting. Belfort returned to action in May of last year, getting crushed by Weidman at UFC 187, though he ended the year with a bounce back win over Dan Henderson in November.
The UFC Fight Night event does not have a location in Brazil as of yet, but will air live on Fox Sports 1.
Penick’s Analysis: This is a very good middleweight fight in its own right, and though the Rockhold-Weidman rematch is as unnecessary as many others, it’s sensible enough given the options. If Jacare can beat Belfort convincingly, he’ll get the spot that was taken by that questionable split decision loss. Belfort obviously took the booking knowing he wasn’t getting that title fight, and it might be more interesting overall than the proposed Anderson Silva rematch he turned down for March.
[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]
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