Spearheading a shocking week of MMA news, many fans were surprised when the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) granted embattled UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort a license by to fight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of December 6’s UFC 181 from Las Vegas.
After all, Belfort had admittedly failed a February 7 drug test given to him by the NSAC after taking a week’s worth of testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT), a finding that may have the set the wheels in motion for the controversial treatment to be banned as it was later that month.
But TRT is now in the rearview mirror (hopefully), and Belfort has his long awaited bout with Weidman after “The Phenom” withdrew from their proposed UFC 173 showdown to wean off of synthetic testosterone. The general consensus is that TRT aided Belfort in a huge way during his monumental 2013, when he gained emphatic head kick knockouts over top quality opponents Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson.
And today, the odds makers have reflected that belief in their early UFC 181 betting line. According to Best Fight Odds, Weidman has opened as a lofty -425 (that’s over four-to-one) favorite over Belfort in their year-ending showdown.
The undefeated champion from Long Island just got through defeating Lyoto Machida in the rousing main event of UFC 175 on July 5, and has a litany of injuries to deal with before he faces off with Belfort.
When he does, however, it looks like most will be considering him the odds-on favorite, and a lot of that has to do with Belfort’s inability to use TRT. “The Phenom” will undergo additional testing from the NSAC, so he’s far from out of the woods just yet.
The main event tilt promises to be an exciting affair that should be a lot closer than the line suggests. But would it have been even if Belfort still had his therapeutic use exemption (TUE) intact?