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Vitor Belfort expects to return to action in November but not against Silva

In what’s becoming more of a pattern than coincidence, for a fourth time the long-awaited match-up between UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Brazilian countryman Vitor Belfort appears to again be put on hold due to injury.

Belfort, who has been out of action since September 2009, was first announced as the top contender to Silva’s belt after finishing Rich Franklin with strikes in the opening round of their fight at UFC 103. However, the bout has yet to actually materialize due to injuries sidelining both parties at various times over the past year.

News of the most recent postponement came via Belfort’s Twitter account, where he not only alluded to the ribs Silva said he’d damaged after his remarkable win over Chael Sonnen, but also explained he still planned to step foot in the Octagon before the end of 2010.

“This year I am not going to fight for the title because the champion is hurt but (in) November we will be in action for sure, that is what I can say…”

While no opponent has officially been named for “The Phenom”, logical candidates include perennial contender Yushin Okami and the recently resurgent Chris “The Crippler” Leben. The UFC has two events currently scheduled for November – UFC 122 (11/13) in Germany and UFC 123 (11/20) which is rumored to be headlined by a light heavyweight clash between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida.

Belfort is 19-8 as a professional and currently on a five-fight winning streak. In addition to Franklin, the 33-year old also holds notable victories in the UFC over Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva.