With Vitor Belfort undergoing successful shoulder surgery earlier this week, Anderson Silva and the UFC are frantically searching for a new opponent to help save UFC 112 after Dana White confirmed Silva would still defend his middleweight title in Abu Dhabi.
With less than eight weeks before showtime, let’s take a look at a few potential middleweight options for the UFC:
Demian Maia – Although he probably won’t be cleared to fight until sometime in August because of a cut on his eyelid, John Morgan of MMAJunkie pointed out that it’s possible for him to get the go-ahead earlier. Maia’s only loss came against Marquardt, which dropped him a few pegs in the middleweight division, but he still holds wins over Nate Quarry, Dan Miller and most importantly Chael Sonnen.
A bout with Maia would be intriguing since Maia has great Jiu-Jitsu paired with solid striking ability, for a world champion BJJ practitioner that is.
Yoshihiro Akiyama – Sexiyama’s name has been thrown out there and it has some potential. Although he’s a smaller middleweight, he’s willing to go to war every time out. The Japanese sensation has only lost once in his career and won his UFC debut against the aforementioned Belcher at UFC 100.
A fight with Akiyama would also allow for the UFC to continue their push into Japan and further extend their worldwide footprint.
Alan Belcher – People may not consider Belcher a legit title contender, but he’s compiled a 3-1 record in his last four Octagon fights as he’s posted wins over Ed Herman, Denis Kang and Wilson Gouveia. However, he also dropped a narrow decision to Yoshihiro Akiyama during that run.
Belcher would allow for an entertaining bout with Silva because he’d be willing to stand and trade with him, something most of the sane world is scared to do. This bout obviously wouldn’t have the same starpower as a lot of other matchups, but isn’t completely out of the realm of possibilities.
UFC 112 will take place on April 10th in Abu Dhabi. Time is against the UFC, so expect an announcement soon.