A shoulder injury has forced Vitor Belfort to withdraw from his upcoming matchup with middleweight champion Anderson Silva, scheduled for April 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, UFC President Dana White confirmed to Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole on Thursday.
Silva is slated to remain on the pay-per-view card.
SI.com’s Josh Gross reports that Belfort will require “emergency shoulder surgery,” while Belfort’s karate trainer told Tatame that his shoulder has been injured for a “long time” but that he had continued training without using it.
One possible opponent for Silva is Chael Sonnen, who earned the next middleweight title shot with a victory over Nate Marquardt on Saturday at UFC 109, but he was beaten and bloodied in the victory and is unlikely unable to make the quick turnaround (though he appeared to be healing nicely in his appearance today on Fox News).
If Sonnen is unable to step in for Belfort, Silva could draw another challenger at 185-pounds or might return to light heavyweight and take on a 205-pound opponent while waiting for the middleweight contenders to heal.
UFC 112 also features lightweight champ BJ Penn vs. Frankie Edgar and Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie.
Pictured: Vitor Belfort