MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: Jones/Cormier, Weidman/Belfort Announced

JonJones The UFC yesterday announced two title bouts for the fall/winter calendar, and they’re both good ones. After Vitor Belfort was given a license to fight in Nevada by the NSAC pending the passing of random drug tests, the UFC announced he will take on Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title in the main event of UFC 181, which is set to take place December 6 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. In addition to Weidman vs. Belfort, it’s expected that the co-headliner for that card will be a lightweight title bout between UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez, making UFC 181 one of the most-anticipated events of the rest of 2014. A few hours after the Weidman/Belfort bout was announced, the UFC delivered some more news. In an unfortunate situation, top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson tore his meniscus and is out of his title fight rematch against Jon Jones, which was one of the most hyped-up fights of the rest of the year. However, the UFC found a good replacement for him as in Gustafsson’s place will be Daniel Cormier, who will take on Jones in the main event of UFC 178, which is set for September 27 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In regards to Weidman vs. Belfort, this fight was originally set to take place at UFC 175 so it’s not a surprise it was re-booked. Belfort earned his title shot with three brutal knockout wins over Dan Henderson, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, so as long as he can pass his drug tests the UFC seems fine with him getting another crack at the belt, and with his dangerous striking abilities he makes for an interesting challenge for the champ. But the truth is, Weidman is just too young, too strong, and too talented, and unless Belfort can find the magic button on the champ’s chin, he will have a difficult time winning this fight. Look for Weidman to open as a large favorite here, and he will more than likely retain his belt this winter. As for Jones vs. Cormier, this is a very interesting matchup as both fighters are basically undefeated (save a DQ loss to Jones) in MMA and can present different problems to one another. With Jones, it’s his reach and unorthodox striking which will present issues to DC, who can use his elite wrestling to possibly shove Jones against the fence. Although DC is a live dog, Jones is the champ and after defending his belt seven fights in a row, he deserves to be the favorite heading into this one. But it should be a great fight regardless of who wins it.

Written by Adam Martin.

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