New light heavyweight title challenger Vitor Belfort
You see what happens I decide to go to sleep for a few hours after working nearly 12 hours? Yesterday's news cycle was pure madness, with the first-ever cancellation of a UFC pay-per-view event and all manner of bad things being said about Jon Jones.
It didn't stop after I decided to get some shut-eye, though. At some point while I was dreaming about mixed martial arts becoming an Olympic sport—and yes, I'm being completely serious, though the sport I witnessed also used a soccer ball; I probably need to drink more caffeine or something—the new UFC 152 main event between Jones and Lyoto Machida suddenly became a new new main event between Jones and Vitor Belfort.
Now, let's get past the one question most of you probably have: Why use Belfort when Sonnen was right there and perfectly available to fight? After all, Greg Jackson said they were perfectly willing to fight Sonnen in Toronto.
So, here we are, with Belfort seemingly having no chance against Jones in just a little under a month in Toronto. Jones will be the heavy favorite—and for good reason, too—but does Belfort have any path to victory?
He does. It's a long shot, but Belfort still has stunning power and lightning-fast hand speed. I'd actually say he's a tougher fight for Jones than Dan Henderson ever was, simply because Henderson has devolved into a striker that constantly looks for the knockout punch. Belfort also goes for the knockout, but he's much more accurate with his hands and is obviously much faster.
At the end of the day, I'm far more intrigued by the idea of Belfort getting his first crack at Jones than by Machida getting his second in less than a year. We saw what happened the first time Machida faced Jones, and it didn't end well for the former light-heavyweight champion. With Belfort, there's at least a little bit of mystery to the proceedings, and I like mysteries.