by Adam Martin
It was reported yesterday that former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will be taking on former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort sometime this spring, and now we have a date for the fight.
According to journalist Guilherme Cruz of Tatame, Belfort and Rockhold will meet in the headliner of UFC on FX 8, which takes place May 18 at Jaragua Arena in Santa Catarina Jaragua do Sol, Brazil. According to the report, there is a verbal agreement in place to have the arena booked for that date.
MMAonline.com reported the Rockhold/Belfort bout yesterday.
Rockhold (10-1) won the Strikeforce middleweight championship by defeating Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in September 2011. Since then, he has defended his title twice against veterans Keith Jardine and Tim Kennedy and now most agree he is one of the top five or six middleweights in the world. Rockhold is currently riding a nine-fight win streak since his lone career loss, and after going 9-0 in Strikeforce, many fans are extremely excited to see him do work in the UFC. But he’s never fought anyone like Belfort, and he’s coming off a long injury layoff, having not fought since last July due to a reoccurring wrist injury. If he doesn’t come into this fight in top physical form, he will be in trouble.
Belfort (22-10) is coming off an impressive head kick KO win over Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7, a huge victory that immediately catapulted him into the top of the division. Should he defeat Rockhold, there’s no question fans will be clamouring for a rematch between Belfort and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who knocked Belfort out at UFC 126 with a highlight-reel front kick to the face. Yes, Belfort called out UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones after the Bisping fight, but there’s no way the UFC will give him that fight after Jones submitted him at UFC 152. So really, he’s fighting Rockhold to earn a chance to fight Silva.
No co-main has been announced for the card yet, but there are rumors that former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua may take on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a rematch of their epic match back in PRIDE.
What are your thoughts?