By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC’s August return to Brazil has been filling up over the last couple of weeks with plenty of Brazilian fighters on the UFC’s roster, but one who won’t be making his way there to fight on the card is Vitor Belfort.
Instead, Belfort will meet Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 earlier in the month, the organization announced on Thursday.
Belfort takes just his second middleweight fight in the UFC, the first coming in February for the division’s title, a fight he lost by knockout in the first round. Prior to the loss to Silva, Belfort had won five straight fights, including a knockout of Rich Franklin in his UFC return in September of 2009.
Akiyama hasn’t been very successful in the organization since debuting at UFC 100. After a split decision win over Alan Belcher that many believed should have gone the other way, Akiyama has lost back to back fights to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping. He was scheduled to return last month against Nate Marquardt, but the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan the week before his scheduled fight took him off of the card.
UFC 133 is expected to take place from Philadelphia, Penn., though no exact date, location, venue or headliner has yet been set for the card.
Penick’s Analysis: I don’t know why this fight isn’t being brought to the UFC Rio card when it’s happening in the same month. With how big Belfort’s fight with Silva was in Brazil, it seems like a no-brainer that he’d be on that card. Other than that, this is a really tough fight for Akiyama after two straight losses. It’s not an un-winnable fight or anything like that, but Belfort is still a very dangerous opponent regardless of the loss to Silva in February. I’m just really confused as to why this fight isn’t on the Rio card.