LONDON – Final Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (10-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) and fellow UFC contender Vitor Belfort (22-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) will headline a major UFC event in Brazil.
UFC President Dana White today confirmed the plans while in London.
A date and venue have not been determined for the fight, White said, though the event is expected to take place in April or May.
The fight, which could be an installment of the UFC on FX event series, is likely to determine a No. 1 contender.
Rockhold, who's been nursing a shoulder injury, hasn't fought since July, when he successfully defended his Strikeforce belt with a unanimous-decision victory over Tim Kennedy. It was his second title defense (he also knocked out Keith Jardine) following his September 2011 title win over Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter, who campaigned for the Belfort fight in recent weeks, now owns a nine-fight win streak with seven stoppages.
Belfort, meanwhile, most recently scored a TKO victory over Michael Bisping in the headliner of UFC on FX 7 in January. The victory, which moved Belfort to 3-1 in his past four fights, actually spoiled Bisping's promised title shot. After the fight, though, Belfort campaigned for a rematch with light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who submitted the Brazilian in September, rather than middleweight champ Anderson Silva, who knocked him out in 2011. However, he'll remain in the 185-pound division for now.
Belfort was granted use of testosterone-replacement therapy for the January bout, but he didn't fail a post-fight drug test, as was widely rumored. With no lingering injuries from the Bisping fight, he'll face a fairly quick turnaround time for the Rockhold meeting.