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UFC 187 fight card primer: Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the co-main event: Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort for the UFC Middleweight title.

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In the co-main event at UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier, UFC Middleweight champion Chris Weidman (12-0 MMA; 8-0 UFC) defends his title against challenger Vitor Belfort (24-10 MMA; 13-6 UFC). This five round Middleweight title fight is the fourth of five fights on the UFC 187 PPV main card. The UFC Rankings have Belfort as the #3 contender at 185 pounds. On the Poind-for-Pound list, Weidman sits at #3, Belfort at #15. UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday, May 23. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at  8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

This much anticipated fight has been a long time coming. Originally set for UFC 173 in May of 2014, it has been announced and cancelled for three separate PPVs already due to first the NSAC ban on TRT, and then injuries to Weidman. Now, they finally meet (though I'm not sure I will trust it until they are actually in the Octagon). That TRT ban weighs heavy on this fight, as it will be Belfort's first fight since the ban.

How do these two stack up?

Weidman: 30 years old | 6'2" | 78" reach
Belfort: 38 years old | 6'0" | 74" reach

What have these two done recently?

Weidman: W - Lyoto Machida (UD) | W - Anderson Silva (TKO) | W - Anderson Silva (KO)
Belfort: W - Dan Henderson (KO) | W - Luke Rockhold (KO) | W - Michael Bisping (KO)

How did these two get here?

You would think being the man to finally end the record long title run of Anderson Silva would have earned Chris Weidman massive accolades, but it didn't quite. Even after he beat the Spider a second time, there were still cries that they were flukey wins. But his 2014 victory over Lyoto Machida (in a great fight) and the time since has cemented his status as one of the top pound for pound kings right now. The undefeated Serra-Longo product has been on the shelf for close to a year with injury, but that's still less time off than his opponent here, and the last time Weidman was out for that long, he came back and won the Middleweight title. Expect a strong performance from the champ here.

Vitor Belfort is the last of the true old school fighters to still compete in the UFC. Since debuting all the way back at UFC 12 (held, somewhat famously, in Dothan, Alabama), Belfort has been one of the most hot/cold fighters in all of MMA. Since his UFC return in 2009, he's been pretty great, going 6-2 with the only losses to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, and he comes in here off a 3 fight win streak, capped off by a huge KO of the once iron chinned Dan Henderson. BUT that was 18 months ago and that was a Vitor Belfort allowed to use TRT. We really have no idea what to expect from Vitor at this point. But that's been true of the Phenom time and time again in his career, so really, this is nothing new.

Why should you care?

We've been waiting a long time for this one, and with good reason. One of the P4P best against a challenger whose power means he is always a live dog. This should be an electric fight.