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Lyoto Machida replaces Vitor Belfort in UFC 173 main event against Chris Weidman

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Less than 24 hours after the Nevada State Athletic Commission moved to abolish testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), Vitor Belfort has withdrawn from his scheduled title match against Chris Weidman at UFC 173.

Belfort, a known user of TRT for several years, released the following statement Thursday night.

"The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program. As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it. Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time."

In Belfort's stead, No. 3 ranked UFC middleweight contender Lyoto Machida will now challenge Chris Weidman (11-0) for the middleweight title in UFC 173's main event.

UFC officials announced the news on a late-Thursday night edition of FOX Sports Live.

Machida (21-4), a former UFC light heavyweight champion, holds a perfect 2-0 record since dropping down to 185 pounds. The rejuvenated 35-year-old stunned Mark Munoz en route to a brutal first-round head kick KO in his divisional debut last October, then followed up the performance by outpointing Gegard Mousasi in mid-February.

"I'm really excited for this opportunity to fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman," Machida said in a statement. "I'm going to train hard and be well prepared for this fight."

UFC 173 is scheduled to take place May 24, 2014 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

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