Photo by Esther Lin/MMA Fighting.
What a long, strange trip it's been.
In some ways, it's hard to fathom that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White ever actually pulled the plug on an event just eight days before it was scheduled to happen. That's exactly what he did, though, when he made the decision to axe UFC 151, which was supposed to represent the company's Labor Day weekend extravaganza.
That may be a bad descriptor, actually. It wasn't really an extravaganza; more like a showcase for one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters on the Earth -- Jon Jones.
Indeed, the light heavyweight champion was all set to defend his title against Dan Henderson before "Hendo" injured his knee and was forced out. Then came a ridiculous saga with Chael Sonnen, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio Rua, and even Anderson Silva all thrown in.
Ultimately, one name emerged to save the day, and it just so happened to be the most unlikely -- Vitor Belfort.
"The Phenom," who has since dubbed himself, I shit you not, "a young dinosaur," is getting the opportunity of a lifetime simply because he was one of the few who would actually accept a short notice fight. He also has the necessary name value to headline a UFC PPV, even in 2012 and even at light heavyweight, a division he hasn't competed in since 2007.
Both the UFC and Belfort himself have spent the past few weeks trying so very hard to convince each and every one of you that the vested veteran has a legitimate shot at capturing the coveted 205-pound crown.
Anyone buying it?
In advance of tonight's UFC 152 main event, take a look at a full fight video preview of Jones vs. Belfort after the jump.