The poster above featuring Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami may look the part, but don’t go hanging it up on your walls just yet. The headline bout for UFC 122 in November has only just been announcend, and yet they have already been forced to change it as MMAWeekly report that Belfort has pulled out due to an undisclosed injury.
Fresh off a first round victory over Rousimar Palhares last week, Nate Marquardt will now step up to face Okami in a fight that was expected to decide the next No.1 contender in the middleweight division.
In an ideal world this would have been a carefully orchestrated plan by the UFC to allow Belfort to fight Anderson Silva for the title early next year since Chael Sonnen appears to be headed for a one year performance enhancing drugs suspension.
It’s a possibility, but why would they make an official announcement on Belfort Vs Okami if they had no intention of putting on the fight?
Given Belfort’s recent woes it may well just be that he does indeed have an injury, and if so that’s very unfortunate for him as it could keep him out of title contention for some time.
If so it’s bad news for the UFC who just a week ago had two very marketable title challengers in Sonnen and Belfort lined up. Though undoubtedly quality fighters it’s fair to say that neither Marquardt nor Okami is going to generate the same level of excitement or success at the box office as they would have.