UFC President Dana White confirmed late Thursday night with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort has now stepped in to UFC 152’s main event replacing Lyoto Machida. The fight is still a title fight for the light heavyweight title and will take place on September 22nd at UFC 152 in Toronto, Canada.
According to the report, White said that Machida had turned down the fight sometime on Thursday. The reason being that he wouldn’t have enough time to train for the rematch against Jones. Vitor Belfort had called White earlier in the day and said he’d step up to fight Jones on short notice. Once Machida cited inability to be ready in a month’s time for a rematch with Jones, Belfort was granted the title shot.
Belfort was supposed to fight Alan Belcher at UFC 153. There has been no announcement yet as to who will replace Belfort against Belcher. The card is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 13th.
In a separate report from Ariel Helwani on MMAFighting.com, even UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva had stepped up to save UFC 151 from being cancelled by offering to fight in the main event. The offer from Silva wasn’t to fight Jones for the title, but it was an offer to fight any other light heavyweight in the main event. Unfortunately, the offer from Silva came after the card was already scrapped and too late to save. White said he never thought Silva was step up and appreciated the offer.
Below are links to both articles by Ariel Helwani: