Tim Kennedy Confirms Fight with Vitor Belfort in Brazil

John HeinisSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2013

Tim Kennedy
Tim KennedyJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

On July 26, fight fans were informed that a matchup between perennial middleweight contender, Vitor Belfort, and two-time Strikeforce title challenger, Tim Kennedy, was in the works for an upcoming card in Brazil, as reported by MMA Fighting.

Shortly after Ariel Helwani's interview with UFC President Dana White was posted online, Kennedy indicated that the fight was a done deal, though he did not name what event the bout was scheduled for. 

I'm going to brazil to fight Vitor! I'm bringing ranger panties, Greg Jackson and Ranger Up.

— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) July 27, 2013

Kennedy made his UFC debut at UFC 162 earlier this month, winning a clear-cut, albeit fairly uneventful, unanimous decision over highly regarded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Roger Gracie. 

While the United States Army Sergeant First Class has never been ranked in the middleweight division's top 10 up to this point in his career, he was won eight of his past 10 bouts and hasn't lost a non-title fight since December 2007.

Ever since losing to then-champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126 in February 2011, Belfort has scored three vicious knockouts at middleweight, also submitting Anthony Johnson at a catchweight and losing a light heavyweight title bid against Jon Jones. 

"The Phenom" has been campaigning for another crack at middleweight gold since minutes after Silva lost the strap to Chris Weidman at UFC 162, texting White 172 times at the post-fight press conference pleading for a title shot, per MMA Fighting. 

While Belfort has undeniably looked impressive recently, boasting back-to-back head-kick knockouts over Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold, the UFC opted to book Weidman vs. Silva II for UFC 168. 

Since that rematch doesn't take place until December 28, it became apparent that Belfort was going to have to go through at least one more opponent before he earned a championship fight. 

Former Strikeforce titleholder Gegard Mousasi had repeatedly asked for a fight with Belfort at UFC 168, but the UFC has obviously decided to go in a different direction.

Will Kennedy shock the world and end the Brazilian knockout specialist's time as a title contender, or will Belfort score another highlight-reel worthy KO en route to a championship bout? 


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for eDraft.com