A middleweight bout between Brazilian legends Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida is in the works for UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Last month, Vitor Belfort announced he planned to retire following a bout against Uriah Hall on Jan. 14, but Hall was pulled out of the fight at the last minute due to complications during his botched weight cut.
Belfort, confirmed the planned matchup via social media, following an initial report by MMAFighting.com. The UFC 224 PPV event is scheduled to take place at Jeunesse Arena.
Belfort is now expected to end more than two decades of storied career opposite his fellow former UFC light heavyweight titleholder.
“I’m over 20 years being relevant in this sport. I broke a lot barriers and paved the way for a generation after me. I am one of the pioneers of the sport and I’m proud it it. I could not walk into the octagon for the last time without sending a relevant message to the athletes, fans and to the sport itself.
That is the reason why I chose to fight a friend of mine. An athlete that I have a lot respect. A good person a family man. I’m against the so famous “trash talk”. MMA is a sport!
A sport that myself and a lot of family men work really hard to support our families. Lyoto and I have known each other for many years, I know his family and we have trained together. I wanted this fight to take place in Brazil because that is where everything started and now it’s time for us to send another message to the world.
And the message is: RESPECT!
May 12th @lyotomachidafw and I will step into the octagon as professionals and we still be friends.Always respecting each other and the way we will do that is giving our best in the octagon.
I want people to understand that you don’t have to be a bully to be a fighter, you have to be a real man.And that is exactly what the world is in need, real man willing to pay the price to make a difference.”
Vitor Belfort is coming off a decision win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 last June. Prior to that, he had been knocked out in four of his last five fights.
Machida returned late last year following a two-year suspension for UFC drug violation. On his return fight, he got knocked out by Derek Brunson in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in October. Most recently, Machida turned things around for himself with a close split decision win over Eryk Anders at UFC Belem earlier this month. He had been on a three-fight skid before that.
UFC 224 goes down on May 12th in the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event could be headlined by a UFC women’s bantamweight title bout between champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Raquel Pennington.