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Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort planned for Las Vegas, Weidman favored
In two fights with Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman had to buck the odds, and did so, winning as the underdog twice to emerge as the UFC middleweight champion. After firming up his hold on the belt, the New Yorker is expected to retain it in his first post-Silva test.
According to the opening odds released on the fight by Sportsbook.com, Weidman is a 2-to-1 favorite to hold on to the gold.
The line was released early on Friday and early money has already come in on the champion, as it increased to -225 within hours. The comeback on Belfort is at +175 after opening at +160.
On Thursday, UFC CEO and co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta told ESPN that the promotion was hoping to schedule the Weidman-Belfort fight in either May or July in Las Vegas. While Weidman expects to address an injured knee before committing to the matchup, it is believed that his issue is not serious and that he would be ready for at least one of the dates. The 29-year-old is a perfect 11-0 since turning pro in 2009.
Belfort (24-10) would be attempting to cap a surprising career comeback which has seen him knock out three straight opponents via head kick. A win would make him only the third man in UFC history to win championships in two divisions, following Randy Couture and B.J. Penn.
Some of Belfort’s recent accomplishments have been tainted by controversy due to his approval to use testosterone replacement therapy. The 36-year-old has yet to be licensed to use it anywhere in the United States, however, and if the fight does take place in May or July, he will likely be made to stand in front of the Nevada state athletic commission in order to attempt to secure a therapeutic use exemption. If the commission denies his request, he may be forced to compete without it.