According to a report from fellow mixed martial arts news website MMA Weekly, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort (18-8) will meet current Sengoku Middleweight Champion Jorge Santiago (21-7) on August 1st in an “Affliction: Trilogy” middleweight showdown.
Originally, Belfort was rumored to fight Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1), but the fight fell through when Mousasi’s camp announced he could no longer make the middleweight division’s 185-pound limit and Belfort did not want to move up to a higher weight class. Mousasi is now expected to fight Renato “Babalu” Sobral (32-8) in a light heavyweight bout on the same card.
In his last few fights Belfort has looked similar to the Vitor fans were used to seeing when he tore through the UFC in the mid to late nineties earning the nickname “The Phenom”. In his last fight he walked through top five middleweight Matt “The Law” Lindland (21-6) in just 37 seconds at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning” this past January.
In Belfort’s first fight with the Affliction promotion he knocked out UFC veteran Terry Martin (18-7) in the second round of their July 2008 bout. Belfort, who is on a four-fight win streak, has looked really good since finding a home with Xtreme Couture and dropping down to the middleweight division after spending the majority of his career at light heavyweight.
His August 1st opponent, Jorge Santiago, has won an impressive nine straight fights since departing from the UFC in December 2006 after losing two in a row against Chris Leben and Alan Belcher.
Included in Santiago’s win streak is a title win over top ten middleweight Kazuo Misaki whom he defeated at “Sengoku: No Ran 2009” with a 5th round rear naked choke submission. Santiago also won the 2007 Strikeforce four-man middleweight tournament by defeating former UFC fighters Trevor Prangley and Sean Salmon.
Santiago’s record indicates the 29-year-old American Top Team fighter has a well-rounded game, having won eight of his fights by T(KO) and twelve by submission. He is also a finisher (Kenny Florian would be proud) with only one of his victories coming from decision. As good as Santiago has looked lately and as impressive as the winning streak is, 32-year-old Vitor Belfort may be his toughest test to date.
“Affliction: Trilogy” will take place August 1st at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The main event features a heavyweight superfight between WAMMA Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko (30-1) and number two ranked Josh Barnett (24-5).
By: Dusty Adams