Another key Strikeforce star is heading to the UFC.
Vitor Belfort (20-9 MMA, UFC) announced on his official website that he's fighting former Strikeforce middleweight champion and noted kickboxer Cung Le (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 139 in San Jose, Calif.
On Friday sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) the bout was under consideration but that Le was still working on details for his UFC deal.
A deal apparently has been reached.
UFC 139 takes place Nov. 19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. With a heavyweight title fight between champ Cain Velasquez and Junior Santos moved from UFC 139 to UFC on FOX 1 – and given Le's massive following in San Jose – he and Belfort very likely could headline the pay-per-view show.
Le, 39, went 17-0 as a Sanshou kickboxer before moving to MMA in 2006. Le, who hasn't fought in 16 months while pursuing an acting career, has fought exclusively for Strikeforce, where he posted a 7-1 record (with seven knockout victories) with an array of flashy and highlight-reel wins. His only defeat during his run came to Scott Smith, who pulled off a stunning come-from-behind KO win in the final couple minutes of their December 2009 bout. However, Le avenged the defeat in his next bout with a KO set up by a spinning back kick.
Thanks heavily to Le, Strikeforce has drawn some massive crowds in San Jose, where the fighter has many Vietnamese fans. In fact, he was a part of both of the best-attended Strikeforce events in history. Both took place in San Jose.
He now meets 34-year-old Belfort, who recently rebounded from a vicious KO title loss to champ Anderson Silva with a dominant victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. Belfort, who's now won six of his past seven fights, scored a "Knockout of the Night" award with the Akiyama victory. In fact, his past four victories (and nine of his past 10) have all come via knockout.