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The Old Lion: Vitor Belfort

Derek Bowe

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Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort, is the last relevant remaining fighter of the old generation of mixed martial arts. Belfort made his professional debut against Jon Hess in 1996 in Honolulu under the promotional banner, SuperBrawl 2. The 19-year old defeated Hess just twelve seconds into the very first round via knockout due to punches. The Phenom was the nickname given to the young Brazilian as he stepped into the UFC Octagon for the first time soon after where he won a Heavyweight one night tournament.

Belfort’s furious style overwhelmed opponents, he was known to possess the fastest hands in the sport, which was hard to argue after witnessing his victories. In addition to his incredibly fast hands, he coupled that with a good ground game, and big power. His imposing physical presence made him one of the most fearsome, and intimidating fighters to stare across the cage against.

Vitor would go on to enjoy a nice career, bouncing between promotions until he found himself in a UFC title fight against Randy Couture, the man who had given the Brazilian his first defeat seven years prior. Belfort would earn a doctor stoppage in the match and claim the UFC Light Heavyweight title which he would surrender back to the American Couture seven months later.

Vitor Belfort’s career teetered up and down, the Phenom would look unbeatable at times, then would show up and look completely out of sorts, like he did not want to take part in the bout he was in. The talent was undeniable, which made certain losses in his career difficult to swallow for fans, and mma personalities alike.

Vitor’s career took another turn in a positive direction when he demolished the number two ranked middleweight in the world, Matt Lindland in Affliction’s promotion. Thirty seven seconds was all it took for people to get out of their seats, it took another five to ten for Lindland to leave on a stretcher. The Phenom had returned.

Belfort would enter back into the UFC, a fighter reborn, and rejuvenated. He would draw former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, a fight which many understood would yield a title shot against the champion, and pound-for-pound number one fighter in the world, Anderson Silva. Belfort did indeed defeat Franklin and earn that shot, stopping the former champion three minutes into the fight. Belfort looked poised to challenge Silva and give him, the greatest test of his career. However, that rollercoaster came to a halt as Silva landed one of the greatest kicks of all time to stop Belfort in the first round, a front kick to the face, which snapped Belfort’s neck back and sent him to the canvas.

Belfort would again return six months later, ready to make his way back into that championship form which he saw himself most recent. He rattled off two successive victories over Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Anthony Johnson, and promptly accepted a short notice title fight, up a division against champion Jon Jones where he nearly submitted the champion via armbar in the first round which appeared to be locked in and very deep. Jones willed himself through the defense of the armbar, and won the fight via Americana submission. This loss did not set the Phenom back however, as it was a jump in divisions, and he nearly came away with the victory.

Vitor would show to have reinvented himself in his next outing against Michael Bisping, knocking out the British star with a head kick in second round, kicking was a weapon which had not been shown by Belfort in the past. He would go on to knock out his next two opponents Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson via Spinning back heel kick, and roundhouse respectively. The explosion and ferocity of the finishes showed that Vitor is ready again for the gold, ready to challenge for another title.

Saturday Vitor Belfort takes on Chris Weidman at UFC 187 for the UFC Middleweight title in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the Brazilian is considered the underdog in the matchup, and is said to only have a puncher’s chance, that puncher’s chance is the greatest puncher’s chance a fighter can possess. His diverse attack and quickness has a very real chance to find a home against a fighter in Weidman who has absorbed his share of strikes in his previous defense against another high level striker in Lyoto Machida. Belfort is a fighter who possesses strikes which simply cannot be absorbed. Should this fight stay on the feet, Dana White might again be placing the belt around the waist of an original, a throwback who has evolved his skills to compete with the new blood, the Old Lion may claim his pride again, Vitor Belfort.

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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