I knew it was happening (we all did) ... but now it feels real.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman will put his 185-pound title up for grabs against division number one contender, Vitor Belfort, in the headliner of the upcoming UFC 173 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 24, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada (details).
Earlier this week, both fighters -- draped in their respective flags -- came face-to-face for the first time (via Instagram) in advance of their Memorial Day Weekend mixed martial arts (MMA) championship extravaganza.
I feel giddy.
After winning the middleweight title -- then keeping it -- in consecutive bouts against Anderson Silva, Weidman (11-0) will move on to the next chapter in his combat sports career. That includes a five-rounder against "The Phenom" (24-10), who rocketed back to the top of the rankings (see them here) with three stunning knockout victories against top-shelf competition.
"All American" is currently a -240 favorite.
In addition to the championship headliner, the UFC 173 PPV will feature a light heavyweight grudge match in the co-main event, as bitter rivals and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3" coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva finally come to blows in "Sin City."
See their first staredown pic from the TUF set right here.
No other fights have been announced for the UFC 173 event at this time; however, I'm not sure it matters with a top-heavy card like this one. Stay tuned for more "Weidman vs. Belfort" fight announcements in the coming weeks.