Vitor Belfort (red shorts) celebrates after defeating Luke Rockhold (not pictured) during UFC on FX 8 at Arena Jaragua. Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Wanderlei Silva out, Vitor Belfort fights Chael Sonnen at UFC 175

It has been confirmed that former Pride middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva has withdrawn from him fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 175, with middleweight contender Vitor Belfort taking his place. Belfort will fight at light heavyweight again after knocking out Dan Henderson in November.

Wanderlei and Sonnen coached the third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, and to say there was tension would be to put it lightly. After a brawl during filming, a number of intense staredowns and a war of words, it was clear that there was animosity between the pair. However this bout will not come into fruition after Wanderlei Silva has been forced to withdraw from the contest.

Stepping up in his place will be Vitor Belfort, who has won his last three bouts, with only one being in the light heavyweight division. This run comes after a losing effort in a short notice bout against Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title, a bout where Belfort almost pulled off an armbar in the first round. With just 2 losses since 2006, ‘The Phenom’ has cemented his place as the #2 middleweight and #13 light heavyweight in the promotion.

The world was Belfort’s oyster, with him expected to get his third UFC title shot in just over three years at UFC 173, but everything took a turn for the worst.

Like Sonnen, Belfort is known to use TRT, but the controversy surrounding the issue comes after a failed drug test in the past which caused his testosterone levels to drop. Fighting in Brazil in his last three fights, speculation arose that Belfort would be unable to get the licensing needed to fight in Nevada and that his testosterone levels were too high, so he was forced to pull out of the fight with Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 173. Lyoto Machida stepped in, though an injury to Weidman forced the fight to be postponed to UFC 175 this July, a card that will ultimately see Belfort fight on the main card.

TRT exemptions were banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and this put Belfort’s future of fighting in Las Vegas in jeopardy. However, as confirmed by Globo’s Ivan Raupp, he has passed all of the necessary tests and will step up to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175.

UFC 175 is headlined by the UFC middleweight title being put on the line as Chris Weidman faces challenger Lyoto Machida. In the co main event, Ronda Rousey defends her UFC women’s bantamweight title against Alexis Davis, with Vitor Belfort facing Chael Sonnen to round off a stacked top three of the main card. The card goes down at Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas, NV. on July 5.

Tags: Chael Sonnen UFC 175 Vitor Belfort Wanderlei Silva

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