Just one day after UFC 142 was announced as the UFC’s latest event in Brazil featuring featherweight champion Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes, another Brazilian will be making a homecoming trip to Rio de Janeiro on January 14.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort will welcome welterweight slugger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson to the middleweight division for the event that is expected for the HSBC Arena, which also hosted UFC 134 in August.
Belfort (20-9) last fought in Brazil at the UFC’s most-recent visit before UFC 134 in 1998, knocking out Wanderlei Silva in under a minute. After fighting for a number of notable promotions, “The Phenom” returned to the UFC in September 2009 with a win over Rich Franklin then challenged fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva for the middleweight title in February, but suffered a first-round KO.
He was previously scheduled to welcome Cung Le to the UFC at UFC 139, but withdrew from the event due to injury.
Johnson is also a longtime UFC veteran with ten fights inside the Octagon all at welterweight. Johnson has struggled cutting to 170 pounds on a few occasions, missing weight by as much as 7.5 pounds in 2007. At 6’2″, he is taller than even most middleweights, so he will not be giving up much size with his move up.
It has not been announced whether this is a permanent move to middleweight, or a one time trial for Johnson.
Both fighters won their most recent fights less than three minutes into the first round. Belfort knocked out Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 in August in just 1:52, while Johnson stopped Charlie Brenneman with a head kick in only 2:39 at UFC on Versus 6 in October.
UFC 142 has just one other official matchup, as Aldo defends the UFC featherweight title for the third time against Mendes.
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