UFC officials confirmed today (Wednesday) that multi-time UFC Champion Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort will return to the Octagon at UFC 142 against no other than Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who will make his long-awaited Middleweight debut.
It’s interesting to see how good Anthony Johnson will be as a Middleweight, especially when he doesn’t have to cut around 40lbs to get down to 170lbs limit. For a fighter moving up in weight classes, Johnson is taller than Belfort and has a significantly longer reach, something that only emphasizes the absurd of him previously fighting at Welterweight.
The fight between Johnson and Belfort could determine the identity of the next UFC Middleweight title challenger, since both fighters are coming off impressive victories inside the Octagon. Belfort bounced back from defeat to Anderson Silva with a KO victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama, while Anthony Johnson currently enjoys a two-fight winning streak, beating Charlie Brenneman via TKO and Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy via Unanimous Decision.
This will be Vitor Belfort‘s first MMA bout on Brazilian soil since the legendary encounter with Wanderlei Silva at UFC: Brazil, back on October 16th, 1998. As for Anthony Johnson, “Rumble” never fought outside United States of America, and will clearly have to experience the “hostile territory effect” when fighting on January 14th at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Further Reading: Belfort will not coach at TUF Brazil