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Anderson Silva still without a fight after Michael Bisping folds at UFC on FX 7

Vitor Belfort’s headkick knockout over Bisping puts middleweight division in flux again

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Vitor Belfort, from Brazil, left, kicks Michael Bisping, from Britain during their middleweight mixed martial arts bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

The search for the best fighter in the world’s next opponent will unmercifully continue after UFC on FX 7.

Another potential challenger for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva fell out of the running Saturday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Michael Bisping, who was promised a shot at Silva with one more victory, couldn’t make it seven minutes with Vitor Belfort, who knocked out Bisping at 1:27 of the second round.

“I’ve got no excuses,” Bisping said immediately after the fight. “I had an amazing training camp. I felt fantastic. I felt very confident I was going to win this fight.”

Bisping started strong until Belfort found something he could exploit. With less than a minute left in the first round, Belfort connected with a head kick that shocked Bisping and enabled the Brazilian to steal the round.

Belfort threw the same strike with the same leg, his left, to finish Bisping shortly after the action resumed. Following an impressive and brutal knockout victory seemed like the perfect spot for Belfort to call out Silva and ask for a rematch.

Instead, Belfort baffled everyone by asking for a fight outside of the 185-pound division. Belfort requested a rematch with Jon Jones, who’s already slated to meet Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 in April.

“Take that punk Chael Sonnen, I don’t even know your name, and get him out,” Belfort yelled into a microphone. “Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta), take him out. Let me fight Jon Jones. I need that rematch. Take that clown away. Go home.”

The card marked the second in less than three months that Silva attended with hopes of learning his next hurdle. Silva also traveled to Montreal to watch Georges St. Pierre’s unanimous-decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 154.

But St. Pierre passed on the chance for a superfight with Silva and persuaded the UFC to book him against Nick Diaz at UFC 158.

“Georges doesn’t have time and I don’t have time,” Silva said in a brief televised interview after the event. “This is Lorenzo and Dana’s decision. I’m here for fight.”

But it’s impossible to fight when there’s no one on the other side of the cage. In addition to bouts with St. Pierre and Bisping falling through, undefeated contender Chris Weidman is out with an injury.

Silva called Belfort’s win “impressive”, but expressed no desire to meet the man he knocked out with a memorable front kick at UFC 126 for a second time.

A showdown with Bisping would have made the most sense, but the Briton goes down as just another near-miss.

“I’m not going away,” Bisping said. “Trust me. I’m going to be back.”

Check below for full results from UFC on FX 7.

Despite admitting that Daniel Sarafian’s hometown crowd “got in his head a little bit”, C.B. Dollaway eked out a victory. Dollaway beat Sarafian by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), taking the final two rounds on two of the three judges’s scorecards. Dollaway dropped Sarafian in each of the final two frames after a rough first round that saw him nearly lose by knockout.

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Gabriel Gonzaga, from Brazil, bottom, chokes Ben Rothwell, from the U.S, during their heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.

Former top heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga is determined to make the most of his second stint in the UFC. Gonzaga won his second straight since re-signing with the UFC, submitting Ben Rothwell with a guillotine at 1:01 of the second round. Rothwell set up the choke by stunning Rothwell with a right hand and an uppercut. “I started training a lot more jiu-jitsu so I could go back to my origins, but I also did not forget my striking,” Gonzaga said through a translator.

Khabib Nurmagomedov stayed undefeated. Nurmagomedov, a rising Russian prospect at lightweight, knocked out UFC veteran Thiago Tavares at 1:55 of the first round. Nurmagomedov improved to 19-0, including a flawless 3-0 in the octagon.

Godofredo Pepey came up short on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil”, finishing as the runner-up, but won in his first UFC bout outside of the show. Pepey defeated Milton Vieria by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) amid controversy. Many felt takedowns from Vieira in the first and third rounds should have won him the fight. The crowd greeted the decision with boos.

Ronny Markes beat Andrew Craig by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a matchup pitting two middleweights who were previously undefeated in the UFC. Markes controlled Craig in each of the first round two rounds, as the Brazilian took the American to the ground and help him there. Craig rocked Markes to win the third round, but the rally came too late.

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Ildemar Alcantara from Brazil celebrates defeating Wagner Prado, also from Brazil, after their light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.

Nik Lentz won his second straight fight since dropping to the featherweight division. “The Carny” took down Diego “The Gun” Nunes numerous times and pounded on him from there. Lentz took a unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26) over Nunes.

Promising lightweight Edson Barboza bounced back from the first loss of his career about as well as he possibly could. Barboza knocked down Lucas Martins with a right hand and forced him to tap out to strikes at 2:38 of the first round.

A bantamweight fight between Yuri Alcantara and Pedro Nobre ended with a controversial no-contest. Nobre complained of shots to the back of the head and complained to referee Dan Miragliotta, who in turn stopped the bout. But replays confirmed that none of Alcantara’s shots were illegal.

Alcantara’s younger brother, Ildemar Alcantara, made sure the family had something to celebrate. After Wagner Prado peppered him with right hooks throughout the first round, Alcantara came back to submit Prado with a kneebar at 2:39 of the second round in their light heavyweight bout.

Francisco Trinaldo submitted C.J. Keith with an arm-triangle choke at 1:50 of the second round in their lightweight bout. Trinaldo had his way with Keith from early in the fight, when he deposited the American on his back with a suplex.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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