MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: Belfort In, Silva Out Against Sonnen At UFC 175

Luke-Rockhold UFC 175 received a massive shakeup on Wednesday night, as one of the biggest fights on the card was switched with just over one month to go until the event due to some very strange circumstances. It was announced yesterday on UFC Tonight that due to Wanderlei Silva refusing a random drug test by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, he has been removed from his scheduled fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 and in his place will be Vitor Belfort ,who is taking the fight on just over five weeks’ notice. The fight between Sonnen and Belfort will take place at 205lbs due to the short notice nature of the bout. Despite the fight taking place at light heavyweight, according to Sonnen the winner of the matchup will get the next title shot at 185lbs against the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida, the headliner of UFC 175, which is set to take place June 5 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. This switcheroo came out of absolutely no where, although there has been speculation amongst insides that Silva would eventually pull out of the fight with Sonnen for whatever reason. The bout between the two coaches of TUF Brazil 3 was actually supposed to take place this coming weekend at the TUF Brazil 3 Finale, but Silva had to delay his return to the cage after he suffered a back injury during a scuffle with Sonnen on the TUF set. The fight was then re-scheduled for UFC 175 and was expected to be the third fight on the main card between Weidman vs. Machida and the co-main event between UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for Alexis Davis, but because Silva refused to take the NSAC’s random drug test — he reportedly fled from the scene — and because he failed to apply for a license, the UFC had no reason but to remove him from the card and replace him Belfort. So far, there is absolutely no confirmation that Silva fled the scene because he was on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), but the fact he refused to take the test makes it seem like he has something to hide in the court of public opinion, and both Silva and UFC president Dana White will have to answer to some tough questions in the coming weeks. As for Belfort being the replacement opponent for Sonnen, that’s arguably the weirdest part about the whole situation Remember, Belfort was supposed to fight Weidman for the belt at UFC 173 originally but was removed by the UFC after the ban of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The promotion couldn’t risk Belfort’s levels being too high after the ban so the decision was made to replace him with Machida. However, due to a knee injury to Weidman the fight was moved to UFC 175, and now with the extra time for Belfort’s levels to come down he will actually compete on the same UFC 175 same that is headlined by a title fight which he had already qualified to participate in. Basically, it’s a weird situation, made only weirder by the fact Sonnen is also coming off of TRT for the first time. Belfort still has to pass the NSAC’s requirements to get a license before this fight is 100 percent official, but it is looking good for him at this point and this bout with Sonnen is likely to be the third fight from the top on the UFC 175 main card. As far as a line goes, Belfort vs. Sonnen is an interesting fight but Belfort absolutely deserves to be the favorite and there’s a good chance that he continues his brutal knockout streak with another win over Sonnen, who has been finished in three of his last four fights. As for Sonnen, he certainly has the wrestling advantage, but with Belfort’s improvements in his takedown defence it’s not going to be easy for Sonnen to take him down. Hopefully this fight between Belfort and Sonnen goes down before it’s a good one for the fans, and hopefully we get answers as to what exactly happened with Silva — but it’s highly doubtful we ever hear the full truth.

Written by Adam Martin.

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