Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Whether Belfort or Machida, UFC 173 set to crown new champion

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that shocked the MMA community, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced its plans on Thursday to end any future exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. The UFC, looking to take a firm stance on the controversial topic as well, followed suit.

An absolute mind-shattering announcement, yes – but it wouldn’t be Thursday’s last.

Hours later, several of MMA’s biggest journalists were reporting that the UFC had just one more teensy-tiny announcement to make before the day’s end – Vitor Belfort, MMA’s poster boy for TRT, would pull out of his title fight against Chris Weidman in May.

The end of TRT exemptions a victory for MMA? Definitely. A win for the UFC? Check. Good news for the middleweight champ? Not so much.

In comes Lyoto Machida. And, as planned when the UFC 173 main event was first announced in December, out is Weidman as the middleweight champion.

Yes, he defeated the greatest fighter of all time twice in one year. But, surprisingly enough, a fluke of a knockout and checking a leg kick don’t necessarily have some of us believing in the “All-American.”

That’s the issue with Weidman: he beat Anderson Silva, successfully ending the greatest title reign in UFC history, only to watch his own come to an abrupt stop when entering the octagon with just about any of the three title contenders the 185-pound division has to offer right now.

In Machida, Weidman faces an exponentially better striker that will likely give him fits in the takedown department. Victory Machida.

In Belfort, Weidman finds an explosive striker who won’t wait to counter him like Silva did. Victory Belfort.

In Ronaldo Souza, Weidman finds a heavy-handed striker who may be susceptible to the takedown – assuming Weidman’s foolish enough to follow this guy to the ground. Victory Souza.

Who will be the UFC MW champ by this time next year?

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Ala Commissioner Gordon, Weidman is neither the champion the UFC deserves, nor the one it needs right now. No matter, here comes Machida to save the day – presumably setting the table for Brazilian-only warfare between “The Dragon,” “The Phenom,” “Jacare,” and when healthy, “The Spider.”

 

Comment below or tweet at @kristian_ibarra with your opinions.

 

 

Tags: Chris Weidman Lyoto Machida Middleweight Champion TRT UFC 173 Vitor Belfort

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