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Machida turns down fight, so Jones to face Belfort

Published on Aug. 24, 2012, at 1:12 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Seriously?!

Less than 24 hours after the stunning news of UFC 151 being cancelled, we have yet another shocker today. Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida, fresh off a second-round KO of Ryan Bader, has turned down a shot at the light heavyweight title against Jon ‘Bones’ Jones at UFC 151 in Toronto on Sept. 22.

Vitor Belfort will move up from middleweight to face Jones for the 205-pound strap next month.

As of 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Friday, Bovada was listing Jones as a minus-1200 favorite (risk $1,200 to win $100) against Belfort, who is available on the comeback for a plus-700 return (risk $100 to win $700). In my four-plus years of covering the UFC, I believe this is the most expensive price I’ve ever seen. Sportsbook.ag had Jones at an enormous minus-1500 cost.

What on earth is Machida thinking here? For starters, he’s already had one shot at Jones, losing by second-round submission at UFC 140 in Toronto. Jones chafed at the fact that Machida was named the No. 1 contender after he got out of his UFC on Fox 4 bout with Bader unscathed on Aug. 3.

I don’t think Bader ever got his hands on Machida in that bout, and he certainly didn’t cause any damage if anything landed. So Machida is in good shape, has known he’ll get the Jones-Henderson winner for nearly three weeks and rejects a shot at Jones’s title a month from now?

That’s weak and stupid! Machida already turned down Dana White when the company needed the karate specialist to replace Phil Davis against Rashad Evans earlier this year. Tito Ortiz stepped up to the plate in that instance and Belfort is doing the same now.

Machida will undoubtedly be stripped of his No. 1 contender status and you can bet the farm that White won’t ever do Machida any favors in the future.

Where does this leave Alan Belcher? ‘The Talent’ was scheduled to fight Belfort at UFC 153 in Rio.

Jason Floyd of The MMA Report told BrianEdwardsSports.com, “I’ll be surprised if we don’t see Belcher matched up against Chris Weidman.”

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