Vitor Belfort

With Anderson Silva out of commission until possibly April, it looks like the UFC has decided to put together a number one contender’s match between Vitor Belfort and Nate Marquardt.

Vitor Belfort has been told that Anderson Silva will not be recovered from his elbow surgery in time for a February and has been offered a contenders elimination bout with Nate Marquardt, a source close to the Brazilian tells Fighters Only.

Belfort – and fans – have been expecting a fight with Anderson next and Belfort has been making training camp preparations as such, but now it looks like his next opponent will be Greg Jackson’s fighter Marquardt.

The UFC wanted Vitor Belfort in the title fight for multiple reasons — he’s exciting, has name value, and most importantly, he hasn’t lost to Anderson Silva — so I’m sure they aren’t too crazy about risking Silva-Belfort by putting Vitor in a title eliminator. However, Belfort-Marquardt is a fairly big fight, and right now the UFC needs fights they can sell.

If nothing else, Team Anderson should finally be happy. They’ve been whining about a number one contender’s match for six months now.

Image via Sherdog

Update: says this fight isn’t happening.

Contrary to reports from other sources, learned from sources close to the UFC on Tuesday afternoon that a contender’s bout between Vitor Belfort and Nate Marquardt is “not happening”.

Ariel Helwani is hearing Marquardt-Sonnen is still on for UFC 109.