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UFC champ Chris Weidman fights Vitor Belfort on May 24

Chris Weidman celebrates after defeating Anderson Silva during

Chris Weidman celebrates after defeating Anderson Silva during the UFC 168 mixed martial arts middleweight championship bout. (Dec. 28, 2013) Credit: AP

NEWARK - The next opponent for UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has been known for more than a month: Vitor Belfort.

And now the time and the place are known: UFC 173 in Las Vegas on May 24.

The UFC made it official Saturday night during UFC 169 at the Prudential Center.

Weidman told Newsday earlier this week during an appearance on Radio Row for the Super Bowl in Manhattan that he had his choice between fighting Belfort in May or July. He said he'd rather fight in May so that he could still "have a summer."

Belfort earned the next title shot with three explosive head-kick knockouts in 2013. Weidman (11-0), from Baldwin, won the middleweight title last July by knocking out Anderson Silva. He then successfully defended the title in the rematch against Silva last December.

Both of those fights took place in Vegas. Belfort's last three bouts have taken place in Brazil, which does not test for performance-enhancing drugs.  (The UFC conducts its own testing in countries without commissions.)

Belfort has been come under scrutiny for his use of testosterone replacement therapy, although it remains legal to do so by applying for a therapeutic use exemption from the state athletic commission.


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