Speculation swirling around Vitor Belfort recently had put him in the Octagon with everyone from Wanderlei Silva to Michael Bisping to a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The speculation came to an end on Thursday when UFC president Dana White revealed to ESPN.com’s UK branch that Belfort would instead face Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Belfort told MMAWeekly.com recently that UFC brass was trying to put him in a fight at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 27. He will instead face Akiyama at UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia.
“Verbal agreements are in for a battle between two of the most exciting fighters in the middleweight division,” UFC president Dana White told ESPN. “Coming off three straight ‘Fight of the Night’ performances, Yoshihiro Akiyama will take on former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort in Philadelphia.”
Belfort (19-9) enters the fight coming off of a first-round knockout loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 126 in early February. Prior to that he had won five fights in a row.
Akiyama (13-3) is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career and fighting for his UFC survival. He last fought Michael Bisping at UFC 120 last October. He had been scheduled to fight Nate Marquardt at UFC 128 in New Jersey in March, but those plans were derailed by the tragic earthquake and tsunami that ravaged his homeland a week prior to the fight.