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Vitor Belfort Confirms Bout With Anderson Silva

At long last, Vitor Belfort will fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.

Belfort confirmed to HDNet's "Inside MMA" on Friday night what has been expected for the last couple of weeks – he'll fight Silva for the belt at the UFC's Feb. 5 card in Las Vegas.

"The fight is definitely going to happen. It's Feb. 5 in Vegas for the Super Bowl week," Belfort told Ron Kruck on the live edition of the show. "I'm focused – I'm really focused. I'm learning a lot of Muay Thai, learning a lot of elbows, knees and kicks to deal with every weapon that Anderson Silva has."

Silva's manager, Ed Soares, told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour" on Monday that he expected Silva to be recovered from a rib injury he suffered a week before the Sonnen fight in time for a Feb. 5 defense against Belfort.

Belfort has been out since dropping former middleweight champ Rich Franklin with a first-round TKO at UFC 103 in September 2009. That bout was Belfort's return to the UFC after being away from the promotion for more than four and a half years.

After the win over Franklin, Belfort, despite just one fight since his return to the company – and a catchweight fight at 195 pounds – Belfort was to get a shot at Silva. But injury recoveries pushed the bout off of UFC 108 and UFC 109. And then a shoulder injury to Belfort took him out of a title fight at UFC 112.

In the meantime, Silva dominated Demian Maia at UFC 112 to retain the belt, then ran into Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 in August. Sonnen dominated Silva through four rounds before getting caught with a triangle-armbar in the fifth. Sonnen was expected to get a rematch – but the door opened for Belfort after the California State Athletic Commission reported Sonnen tested positive for elevated testosterone levels. Sonnen is expected to appeal the test and his subsequent suspension.

Belfort (19-8, 8-4 UFC) told Kruck he's confident he can beat Silva. A win would give Belfort a title in his third weight class in the promotion. He won the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament in 1997. And after returning to the promotion from a stint in Pride, he beat Randy Couture for the light heavyweight title.

"Everything I have in my mind, I'm set. I'm set for one goal," Belfort said. "I'm going to go there and get what belongs to me. The only thing I can do is go there and perform my best. I'm not worried if it's Anderson Silva or any other person in front of me. ... I know I have all the ability. But I'm doing my part training and putting my skills together ... so that when I step in the Octagon, the best man will win. And I'm very confident."

The UFC has not yet announced the Feb. 5 card, but Silva-Belfort is expected to be the main event on the pay-per-view. As MMA Fighting was first to report, a co-main event between former champions Forrest Griffin and Franklin is also expected, as is what could be a top light heavyweight contenders fight between unbeaten Ryan Bader and Jon Jones. And Kenny Florian recently announced he will take on Evan Dunham on the card.

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