Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva pose in Abu Dhabi for pre-UFC 112 festivities. Photo by Josh Hedges for UFC.
The bond between fellow countrymen, apparently, runs deeper than friendship.
An unlikely light heavyweight contender to current division champion Jon Jones arose following the aftermath that was the UFC 151 cancellation in the form of current middleweight contender, Vitor Belfort.
After a few top 205-pound fighters passed on the title fight, "The Phenom" answered the call, agreeing to face "Bones" on Sept. 22, 2012, at UFC 152 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Having not competed in the division in over five years, Belfort, who was preparing for his 185-pound collision with Alan Belcher at UFC 153, looks to shock the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by defeating the young phenom, preventing him from defending his title for the fourth consecutive time.
It won't be easy, as Jones has proven to be a complicated puzzle to figure out, having yet to be taken down inside the Octagon or be in any sort of danger, for that matter. Attacking with calculated strikes and using his length and reach to his advantage, Jones has controlled the tempo of his fights with relative ease.
Perhaps that's why the odds makers have Vitor as a 13-1 underdog.
Nevertheless, there is one person who believes Belfort has a chance at defeating Jones -- fellow Brazilian and current 185-pound title holder, Anderson Silva.
After the jump, check out what "The Spider" told SporTV program, "Bem, Amigos!"( via Sherdog) about the upcoming title fight between two men he knows very well:
"It's difficult, because Jon Jones has a larger-than-normal wingspan and he's still very young. He's still in the phase where he's playing during the fight, really, but he doesn't have the responsibility of a champion. He fights with delight, jokingly, striking like I did back in 1930, when I started. Vitor has a great chance to defeat him. The biggest factor for Vitor is to use his explosiveness and his jiu-jitsu, where he is very good. But I think when one of them makes a mistake, the other will end up striking. As a Brazilian, I'll be rooting for the Brazilian, even though I have a very good friendship with Jon Jones. Whenever I'm with him, I ask him to conduct his career in a different way, because he is very young and is always asking me something. But I'll be rooting for Brazil, yes. May the best man win, but I'm rooting for Brazil."
Silva took the time to reiterate a bout with Jones and himself will likely never happen:
"We're in different weight classes and there are teammates from Team Nogueira who may face him. We have a code of conduct in our team, and I respect that a lot."
Though Silva won't be going toe-to-toe with Jones anytime soon, he has tangoed with Belfort inside the Octagon before. At UFC 126: "Silva vs. Belfort" back in 2011, "The Spider" knocked out the Brazilian striker in the very first round, delivering the front-kick heard round the world in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Despite the "beef" between the two Brazilians heading into the bout, Anderson will be rooting for "The Phenom" -- assuming the fight happens, of course -- to dethrone the young champion, bringing yet another world title to Brazil.
Anyone else giving Vitor a chance?