Belfort Replaces Sonnen, Gets Title Shot Against Silva

New #1 middleweight contender Vitor Belfort
Vitor Belfort is expected to face UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, likely in the headlining bout of UFC 125 on New Year’s Day in Las Vegas.

The change was confirmed today by UFC President Dana White.

Belfort was scheduled to face Yushin Okami in the main event of UFC 122 in November, but the Brazilian was pulled from the bout and replaced with Nate Marquardt. The winner of the Okami/Marquardt bout will get the next crack at the winner of the Silva/Belfort championship match.

Belfort takes the place of Chael Sonnen, who was scheduled to score an immediate rematch following a near-victory over Silva in August. But Sonnen tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs after the event and is currently facing a one-year suspension and $2,500 fine from the California State Athletic Commission. Sonnen is scheduled to appeal the decision on Dec. 2, but the UFC is moving forward with Belfort as the challenger.

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