Lyoto Machida
Lyoto Machida

From the UFC website:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced tonight that former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will face off against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 24.

In light of today’s unexpected ruling issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the ban of therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, Vitor Belfort, Weidman’s previously announced opponent, will no longer compete at UFC 173. Belfort, who has previously been granted therapeutic use exemptions, recognizes that he needs an extended period of time to become licensed in the state of Nevada.

With the event scheduled to go on sale shortly, Belfort agreed to withdraw from the fight in order to allow the UFC’s promotional efforts to move forward on time.

“With today’s ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who’s undefeated since dropping to 185 pounds, will fight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 in May,” UFC President Dana White said. “Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz.

He’s earned this shot at Weidman, who’s coming off two straight wins over the greatest fighter of all time,Anderson Silva. Machida wants nothing more than to avenge the losses of his friend and training partner, and become just the third fighter in UFC history to win titles in two separate weight classes.”

I wrote that Machida should receive the next title shot after his impressive victory over Mousasi a few weeks ago. Of course, this was prior to Belfort pulling out of the fight. However, Machida was the most logical choice to take his place on short notice and is an even more intriguing matchup because of his style. It’ll be interesting to see what the next move is for Vitor Belfort.

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