(Image via CombatLifestyle)
Fight bookings continue to dominate the MMA headlines, Potato Nation. Fortunately for us, it looks like 2013 will be a year where at least half of these announced fights actually make it to the cards they were originally intended to be on.
Although the matchup was hinted at a few weeks ago, both Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold vehemently denied that a bout between them was anywhere near a done deal. In fact, the final Strikeforce middleweight champ even went as far as to call out Costa Philippou for his promotional debut, a move that seems like a classic bait and switch in hindsight. In either case, it has been announced that Belfort and Rockhold will indeed be facing off next at a yet-to-be-named event in Brazil, go figure.
Belfort is fresh off a second round destruction of Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7 that was first attributed to an omniscient higher power but later revealed to be at least partially influenced by the highest power of them all (other than bath salts, of course): testosterone. Rockhold, on the other hand, was scheduled to face Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce’s once-named Champions event last month, but was forced to pull out from the fight with a wrist injury. Or as Lorenz would call it, a “wrist injury.”
And while it meant one less paycheck for Rockhold at the time, it would be hard to argue that sitting out wasn’t a better move for the Strikeforce champ in the end. Like Gilbert Melendez before him, Rockhold essentially moved from a lose-lose situation in fighting an obscure Strikeforce fighter to fighting a big name in the UFC that will surely boost both his name power and stock within the promotion should he emerge victorious. We guess the injury curse of 2012 wasn’t all bad.
So, Potato Nation, will Rockhold be taught a lesson in hespect for his UFC debut or will he put one final nail in Belfort’s coffin?
[UPDATE] – 2/14
An official date, event, and venue have been named for Belfort and Rockhold’s upcoming clash and they are: May 18th, UFC on FX 8, Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Begin counting down the days until Dana White tells us that “a win for either guy = the next light heavyweight title shot” now.