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UFC official confirms Vitor Belfort turned down fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 197

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Anderson Silva will battle Michael Bisping in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card in London on Feb. 27, but that wasn’t the promotion’s original plan for “The Spider”.

The UFC officially announced UFC 197 pay-per-view show for March 5 in Rio de Janeiro, but eventually moved the card to Las Vegas with Rafael dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor and Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate as headliners.

According to UFC senior vice president Giovani Decker, UFC 197 was originally planned for Arena da Baixada soccer stadium in Curitiba, with Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez as main event and Anderson Silva in the co-main event slot, possibly against Michael Bisping.

Due to a series of injuries, the promotion had to move the heavyweight bout to UFC 196 on Feb. 6, so they decided to move the Brazilian card to the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. With a smaller venue, the UFC considered booking a rematch between Silva and Vitor Belfort as main event.

“With the card losing a title fight as big as that one, we thought this card would fit better at the Arena, no longer at a soccer stadium,” Decker told Combate. “But we couldn’t get the deal done with Vitor Belfort. Anderson accepted the fight, but Vitor decided to wait to see what would happen in the fight between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold (at UFC 194), and he was right, because Rockhold won and called him out at the UFC 194 post-fight press conference, which was a good sign for him.”

“Many people said Vitor didn’t want this fight, and that wasn’t the truth,” he continued. “He wants it, he made it clear it will happen at some time, but for him, thinking about his career and ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting