January 14th at UFC Fight Night 124, Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort steps into his 40th professional fight of his career where he’ll be faced with fellow knockout artist Uriah Hall. To mark the occasion, this will be an article dedicated to The Phenom, and we’re going to look back at his top five fights in the UFC.
Belfort has had a very impressive career, fighting for the UFC, Pride and Strikeforce as well as in Cage Rage and Affliction. Competing in three different weight classes through Belfort’s career its no surprise, he has fought the very best to ever do the sport including names like Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem, Jon Jones and Dan Henderson.
At the age of 19, Belfort competed in a UFC heavyweight tournament and emerged victorious proving himself to be one of the very best at such a young age.
Being in a group of fighters from Pride who were injecting steroids in everywhere – including your face – was virtually deemed compulsory. It’s a surprise that the Brazilian is still able to compete at the very top of MMA with USADA drug testing every fighter consistently.
5. Vitor Belfort vs Wanderlei Silva
At UFC 17.5, ‘The Axe Murderer’ Wanderlei Silva was waiting to make his mark on the UFC, but Belfort had other ideas. The fight began, and neither fighter threw a punch, Silva threw a heavy leg kick, but that was all. Then Belfort exploded, he ran at Silva throwing his lighting fast hands and punched him from one side of the octagon to the other. 44 seconds was all Belfort needed to earn the TKO victory over a surprised Silva who was expecting to impose his will on his opponent. Belfort showed the world that he was Brazil’s number one fighter and left many fans hungry for more.
4. Vitor Belfort vs Anthony Johnson
Belfort showed off his Gracie JuJitsu skills in this fight against knockout artist Anthony Johnson. Belfort struggled to get near Johnson to strike him, the bout went to the floor, and nothing happened meaning the referee stood them back up. Then Belfort managed to get the fight down to the mat for the second time. Belfort sunk in a gable choke which ended the fight in the last 10 seconds of the first round.
3. Vitor Belfort vs Michael Bisping
UFC on FOX 7 was host to this fight as Belfort, and Michael Bisping went toe to toe. Neither fighter was taking control of the fight, Bisping was throwing his famous jab while Belfort was much more reserved and remaining patient throwing only one punch in the first two and half minutes of the fight. ‘The Phenom’ rocked Bisping with a head kick at the end of the first round but Bisping was able to recover. The second round begins very much the same as the first did, then Belfort landed with his famous head kick again and followed it up with punches. Dan Miragliotta was forced to step in to stop Bisping from receiving further damage. Post fight with Jon Anik Vitor said: “I give all my thanks to god, his the reason I was able to win the fight, I want that belt”.
2. Vitor Belfort vs Luke Rockhold
Luke Rockhold came into this fight riding a nine-fight win streak and was expected to make it ten. But Belfort had other ideas, both fighters were throwing with evil intentions, and Rockhold shot for a takedown but is unsuccessful. Then just two and half minutes into the first round, Belfort threw a spinning heel kick that knocked Rockhold into next week. Belfort followed it up with the explosive punches he always does one landed which left Rockhold unconscious, and referee Leon Roberts had to step in to stop the brutal strikes.
1. Vitor Belfort vs Dan Henderson
Belfort and Dan Henderson have gone to war three times, but the fight that makes a list was at UFC Fight Night 32. Henderson, a highly decorated knockout artist, had never before been knocked out. Both fighters sized each other up, but no shots were thrown. Then just over one minute into the fight, Belfort counters a strike which drops Henderson, but he scrambled back to his feet then Belfort throws his famous head kick. He hit Henderson’s off switch completely, Henderson fell, and Belfort once again showed that he is always dangerous with stronger kicks than Roberto Carlos. Post fight with Anik, Vitor said: “Believe in yourself. If you feel like you cant do something, God will help you do it.”
The former light heavyweight champion has announced he will step into the cage for the final time this January in an emotional post on social media to his missing sister. He will be missed for his entertaining fights but leaves behind an incredible highlight reel and will undoubtedly be inducted into the UFC’s Hall Of Fame.