UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones will not compete in a rematch with Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida at UFC 152 on September 22nd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As first reported by MMAFighting.com late Thursday night, Jones will instead face Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort.
The latest change comes after Machida reportedly turned down the short-notice title rematch with Jones, who was originally scheduled to face Dan “Hendo” Henderson at UFC 151 next weekend. The entire UFC 151 event was cancelled on Thursday after Henderson withdrew due to a knee injury.
Jones (16-1-0) has quickly become public enemy number one among fans and UFC brass for turning down a bout with former two-time UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 after Henderson was forced to bow out due to injury. With no replacement main event, UFC officials opted to cancel the event outright and moved many of the bouts on the card to upcoming events. On Thursday, the promotion released an updated poster for UFC 152 that listed a Jones-Machida rematch as the new headliner. However, with Machida feeling that he would not have sufficient time to prepare, the fight was changed and Jones will now defend his title against former champion Belfort (21-9-0) instead.
Jones has posted wins in seven straight fights since suffering his lone career defeat via a controversial disqualification in late 2009. He captured the UFC title by stopping Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in March 2011 and has since made successful title defences against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Machida and “Suga” Rashad Evans. Belfort returned to the Octagon in 2009 and has won three of four bouts since. His lone defeat came in a UFC Middleweight Championship bout with Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Fourteen of the Brazilian’s wins have come by way of knockout, but he will give up a significant size and reach advantage when he moves back up in weight to face Jones next month.
UFC 152: “Jones vs Belfort” takes place on September 22nd at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)