UFC Notebook: Belfort injured, Maia likely to get April title shot
Middleweight champion Anderson Silva will remain on the Ultimate Fighting Championship's April card in Abu Dhabi, despite news that challenger Vitor Belfort has pulled out of the bout with shoulder pain that required surgery.
A source close to the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it said the UFC is negotiating to place Demian Maia against Silva.
The 32-year-old Maia (12-1, with 10 victories by knockout or submission) dominated Dan Miller in a unanimous decision Saturday night at UFC 109 in Las Vegas.
Maia, a southpaw, is a logical replacement for Belfort, considering that the Brazilian is the 2006 Abu Dhabi submission grappling champion.
Silva hasn't fought since August, when he knocked out former light-heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin. A bout with UFC returner Belfort was going to make for an impressive Abu Dhabi card, since it also includes a lightweight title match between champion B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar.
The man who appeared to be in front of the line for a title shot was Chael Sonnen, who was impressive Saturday night in his unanimous decision over Nate Marquardt. But Sonnen suffered a deep head gash in the victory and won't have enough time to train for Silva -- whom Sonnen has frequently bashed in interviews.
Meanwhile, in other UFC 109 fallout, the organization has opted not to renew the contracts of main-event loser Mark Coleman, who looked very old and ineffective in his loss to Randy Couture, and Frank Trigg, who also lost on the card.