While Combate.com reported that Belfort vs. Mousasi appeared to be a done deal, independent MMAWeekly.com sources close to the fight characterized the bout as “in the works,” as of Wednesday afternoon. The fight would make sense, as either fighter could serve as a back-up option if anything were to derail one of the main event fighters in the Bisping vs. Henderson middleweight championship bout.
UFC 204 is targeted for Oct. 8 in Manchester, England, Bisping’s home turf.
Belfort (25-12) is coming off of a loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 198 in May. With that victory, Souza believed that he had earned a shot at the title. He is preparing as if he is fighting in Manchester, and plans to be the number one option if a replacement is needed.
“(UFC President) Dana already knows (Jacare is ready to step in),” Jacare’s manager, Gilberto Faria, told MMAJunkie.com recently. “If a replacement is needed for Manchester, or the fans get to turn it around, Jacare vs. Bisping would be a massacre.”
Mousasi (39-6-2) has won back-to-back bouts this year over Thales Leites and Thiago Santos, after having lost his last bout of 2015. He is a former Dream and Strikeforce champion, but has yet to make his way to a UFC title fight.