Alan Belcher to compete in a heavyweight jiu-jitsu tournament in Brazil

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Alan Belcher is back to the fighting game, but it won’t be inside the Octagon.

The UFC middleweight is still unable to fight MMA since his technical decision loss to Michael Bisping last April, when he was poked in the eye in the third round, but will compete again in February.

Belcher, who had to undergo two eye surgeries and is still waiting for the doctor’s clearance to get back inside the cage, will compete under the jiu-jitsu rules at the Copa Podio’s heavyweight (215 pounds) tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on February 1.

"Alan Belcher can’t fight MMA not because of his eye injury, but he was cleared to fight jiu-jitsu," Copa Podio’s promoter Jeferson Mayca told MMAFighting.com. "We talked a lot over the last couple months and came up with the idea of having him in the heavyweight tournament."

Belcher, a black belt under Helio "Soneca" Moreira, joins the jiu-jitsu world champions Rodolfo Vieira, Leandro Lo and Leonardo Nogueira in the 10-men tournament. Alexandre Souza, Faisal Alkitbe, Luiz Panza, Rico Bastos, Tim Spriggs and Olympic judoka Travis Stevens complete the line-up.

The 10 competitors will be separated in two groups (green and yellow), where they will all battle each other. A win by submission gives the fighter four points, and a win via points or advantages is worth three points. Both fighters receive one point in case of a draw. The two best fighters in each group advance to the semifinals, where the first place meets the second of the other groups to determine the finalists.

The upcoming Copa Podio event also features a no-time, submission-only battle between Magid Hage and Franco Marini, and a superfight between Felipe Preguiça and Guto Campos. The events starts at 4:00 p.m. ET and will be streamed live, via pay-per-view (22 dollars), at www.copapodio.com.

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