UFC middleweight number one contender Vitor Belfort has undergone successful shoulder surgery to repair a lingering injury that was severe enough to see him withdraw from his April 10 title fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.
From "The Phenom" courtesy of Sherdog.com:
“I’ve already had the surgery on my left shoulder. I’ve already had three injections since I was scheduled to fight Fedor, but lately the pain got really unbearable and my doctor decided to take an (MRI) and it showed chronic injury that was getting worse. My doctor, Michel Simoni, said that if I did not stop and do the surgery immediately, I was running serious risk of my shoulder going out of place. Also I was already losing the power of my left arm. How could I fight (without) my strongest hand? I’m feeling good, and according to the doctor, in four months I can start returning to training little by little. Now I have a long journey of work with physical therapy every day. I think before the end of the year, I’ll be back in the Octagon. No matter if it’s fighting for the belt or not, I’ll be back 100 percent.”
Belfort and Silva were initially penciled in to collide at UFC 108 earlier this year; however, minor elbow surgery for Silva postponed the Brazilian brawl until UFC 112 at the Concert Arena from Ferrari World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday, April 10.
Perhaps it's just not meant to be -- Belfort even seemed uncomfortable with the quick title shot after a first round destruction of former 185-pound division champ Rich Franklin in a 195-pound catchweight fight on Sept. 19, 2009.
In fact, he admitted that Nate Marquardt more than likely deserved the nod over him. Nonetheless, he accepted the bout, twice, and both times the plans have had to be scrapped.
UFC President Dana White recently confirmed to MMA Fighting that "The Spider" will still defend his 185-pound strap overseas as scheduled. Now it is a question of finding a suitable opponent on short notice to tangle with one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters.
Waiting in the wings, of course, is Chael Sonnen, who utterly dominated Marquardt at UFC 109: "Relentless" this past weekend; however, he sustained a humongous gash on his forehead during the three-round unanimous decision win and was slapped with a lengthy medical suspension.
Sonnen, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), is not allowed to spar until March 24, giving him little time to truly prepare to battle a world class and dangerous opponent such as Silva. Regardless, Sonnen indicated in several post-fight interviews that he would be ready just in case something like this happened.
It's a tall order, considering Silva hasn't really lost in more than five years (sans a disqualification loss to Yushin Okami in 2006), and he's essentially obliterated the middleweight division since entering the Zuffa fold in mid 2006.
Whether or not the promotion gives him the green light is still up in the air, and more than likely, currently the focus of heated debate in the UFC war room.