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Jon Jones now scheduled to meet Vitor Belfort to end whirlwind day

Lyoto Machida gives way to Belfort at UFC 152

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Sam Morris

Vitor Belfort talks after working out with Cesar Ferreira in preparation for his upcoming fight against Yoshihiro Akiyama Saturday, July 30, 2011.

It appears Jon Jones now has his fourth opponent of the past 24 hours.

A light heavyweight title fight between Jones and Lyoto Machida announced Thursday for UFC 152 will not take place. Instead, Jones will face Las Vegas-based veteran Vitor Belfort on Sept. 22 in the main event of the pay-per-view card in Toronto.

The UFC’s official twitter account posted a report from MMAFighting.com that announced the switch. UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta and Belfort confirmed the news in subsequent tweets.

“I am so happy to deliver a big show for the whole world,” Belfort wrote on Twitter.

Chael Sonnen on Sportscenter

Machida reportedly requested more time to prepare for a bout against Jones, who defeated him by second-round submission at UFC 140 last year. Belfort is the most unlikely opponent yet for Jones, who enraged UFC President Dana White this morning by refusing to accept a bout against Chael Sonnen.

Jones lost original UFC 151 opponent Dan Henderson when he severely sprained his MCL during a training session. Jones passed on opportunity to save the card, which was scheduled for Sept. 1 at Mandalay Bay, by turning down Sonnen.

“I just don’t know why he won’t fight me next Saturday,” Sonnen said on “SportsCenter” on Thursday afternoon before poking fun at Jones’ recent DWI arrest. “What else does he have to do? Is there like a wine-tasting at the local racetrack or something I haven’t heard about? I don’t know. Maybe Dana didn’t make it clear enough that he was going to fly Jones out. Maybe he thought he had to drive.”

Belfort has gone 7-1 in the past five years, with the loss coming to middleweight champion Anderson Silva, but only one of those fights has come at Jones’ 205-pound weight class.

Belfort, now 35, famously won a UFC tournament at the age of 19. He’s long argued that he should be referred to as the youngest champion in UFC history instead of Jones, who won a championship belt a year-and-a-half ago when he was 23 years old.

“I think this is a big challenge for any fighter that is alive,” Belfort said.

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

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