41-Year-Old UFC Middleweight 26-13-0 (1 NC)
February 20, 2018 Vitor Belfort News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Belfort will square off against Lyoto Machida in a middleweight matchup at UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Belfort had originally planned to retire last June, but after a win over Nate Marquardt decided to give it another go in the Octagon. He was scheduled to face a younger and more athletic fighter in Uriah Hall in January, but after a bad weight cut sent Hall to the hospital, Belfort was left without an opponent. He'll now take on another fighter that played an equally-important role in laying the foundation for what the UFC is today. Lyoto Machida may be just 1-3 in his last four UFC bouts, but is coming off a split-decision victory over Eryk Anders on Feb. 3. With both Belfort and Machida coming off wins, the time was right to book the "legend vs. legend" matchup. With each fighter at or approaching 40 years of age, clearly neither is what they were in their prime, especially given the fact that UFC fighters are now subject to USADA's drug testing rules. Predicting this fight will come down to whoever has more left in the tank, or it could simply be a matter of who is able to connect with a power shot first.
Vitor Belfort: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisThe UFC officially called off the fight minutes after the time for weigh-ins expired, with no reason given for why Hall was absent. Earlier in the week, Belfort proclaimed that this bout would be his final send-off before retirement, unless the promotion was willing to give him $10 million to compete in the future. Since that's extremely unlikely, the future is a little murky for Belfort at this moment. It remains to be seen whether the UFC will try to re-book this fight for a future card, or if Belfort will look to find another competitor before heading off into the sunset.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort has been skirting around the retirement talks for almost a year now, but seems genuinely sincere heading into this fight. The 40-year-old's UFC contract will come to an end after Sunday's bout, so that may help Belfort finally close the door on an assumed Hall of Fame career. "The Phenom" is a former light heavyweight champion and spent 22 years in the sport. Going into the fight he stated, "I think we've got to know the time to start and we've got to know the time to end. It's about time."
Fantasy AnalysisMore important than the win was Belfort's declaration after the contest that he will continue his career. This was long built up as Belfort's "retirement fight", but he told Brian Stann in his post-fight interview that he has five fights left on his deal and he plans on fulfilling it. It's not a surprise given the news that had been coming out over the last few days. This is almost certainly going to end badly for The Phenom. An argument can be made that he didn't deserve to win on Saturday and he is going to have difficulty finding opponents that are as washed up as Marquardt. Perhaps Belfort will change his mind if he struggles in his next few fights, but don't count on it.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort is lined up for what has been called a "retirement fight" by many, but hanging up the gloves may not necessarily be in "The Phenom's" future. "(I will) leave the UFC, but I'll continue competing," the 40-year-old told Veja Rio, a Brazilian media outlet. There are plenty of promotions overseas that would welcome the well-known veteran, many of which have not outlawed the testosterone replacement therapy that Belfort was forced to stop using when USADA took over UFC drug testing in July 2015. Though it may be in Belfort's best interest to step away from combat sports after 39 professional fights dating back to 1996, one of MMA's most well-respected middleweights of all time doesn't appear ready just yet.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort had previously been associated with both the Blackzilians and Jaco Hybrid Training Center, so the move to Canada is a bit unexpected. He'll now get a chance to train alongside well respected fighters such as Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald, under the tutelage of coach Firas Zahabi, who will corner Belfort at UFC 212. Belfort recently had a loss to Kelvin Gastelum changed to a no-contest after Gastelum tested positive for marijuana, but prior to that, the 40-year-old had lost three of his previous four fights. In addition to age, a main factor of Belfort's downfall has been the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's ban of testosterone replacement therapy in the UFC. A new camp can't replace what the lack of TRT took from Belfort, but a fresh perspective certainly can't hurt.
Fantasy AnalysisThis fight will mark the last of Belfort's storied career, as the 40-year-old MMA legend simply doesn't believe his body can handle the grueling demands of the sport for much longer. Considering he's just 1-4 across his last five bouts, we'd probably agree. Fortunately for him, his opposition hasn't fared much better of late; the 38-year-old Nate Marquardt is 2-4 across his past six fights.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort was quickly dismantled in his home country of Brazil last weekend by Kelvin Gastelum, and although he found a home with a few of his strikes, the performance was largely unimpressive. "The Phenom" turns 40 next month, and with the use of testosterone-replacement therapy now banned by the UFC under USADA rules, there's little reason to think he can turn things around. Fortunately for Belfort, he has just one fight left on his contract, which he plans to fulfill. Finding a reasonable opponent for the fading veteran is another story.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's time for Belfort, who will turn 40 years old in about three weeks, to hang them up. He actually looked pretty good for the first two minutes or so, but predictably the roofed caved in on him after that. Vitor was one of the most explosive strikers on the UFC roster not all that long ago, but those days are over for a variety of different reasons. Not only is Belfort not landing with the same efficiency that he used to, his chin also looks worse than ever. It's a bad, bad combination. Vitor said in his post-fight interview with FOX Sports' Brian Stann that he has one fight left on his current UFC contract and he would like to fight at UFC 212 on June 3 in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. It sounds as if Belfort realizes that the end is near. It would makes sense for the UFC to give him a fight on that card as long as it is against a mediocre opponent so that they call bill it as his retirement bout. It will probably help drive ticket sales a bit.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort has just two wins since 2013, both of which came against Dan Henderson, a fighter that was past his prime at the time of the bouts. He will likely be an underdog coming into the bout with Gastelum, who is 14-2 as a fighter. That being said, Belfort should have a size advantage over Gastelum, who was recently forced to move up a weight class due to weight cutting issues. One other fact that can't be overlooked: Belfort is 4-0 when headlining fights in Brazil.
Fantasy AnalysisThis fight once again hammered home one obvious point - the days of Belfort beating top fighters are long over. Other than one or two flurries in which he attempted to push forward, Vitor spent nearly the entire fight being backed upon against the fence by Mousasi. Belfort ate numerous big shots prior to the finish, but referee Leon Roberts had finally, and correctly, seen enough. We can talk for days about why Belfort is no longer an effective fighter, but the bottom line is that he has just two wins since May 2013 and both have come against Dan Henderson, who is expected to retire later tonight, win or lose. Vitor has lost three of his last four overall and it's entirely fair to suggest that he isn't even a top-10 middleweight at this point.
Fantasy AnalysisThe Phenom has two wins in the last three and a half years, and both of those came against Dan Henderson. The explosiveness that defined Belfort's career has seemingly evaporated. He still has the potential to floor it in short spurts, but that's about it. Belfort isn't going to be released if he loses to Mousasi, but it will ensure that he never gets back into title contention in the UFC's middleweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort, a 39-year-old Brazillian, has had an impressive career that dates all the way back to the UFC's origins in the late-90s. He's gone toe-to-toe with the best in the Octagon, but that historic career may soon be nearing an end. The Phenom has lost two of his last three fights, although they have both been to highly respectable opponents in Chris Weidman and Jacare Souza. That stretch came just after a 2013 in which he defeated Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson via first-round stoppage. Belfort definitely has the power to end a fight early, but after a sub-par performance against Souza that resulted in a first-round knockout, one has to wonder what he has left in the tank. He'll take on an up-and-comer in the 31-year-old Mousasi, who has won four of his last five bouts. As far as common opponents go, both fighters have victories over Dan Handerson and losses to Souza. This one should be a close fight for even the oddsmakers to predict, and should deliver exciting action to UFC fans.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort just wasn't competitive. He actually worked his way back to his feet after Jacare landed an early takedown, but Vitor then foolishly pulled guard and the end result was Jacare raining down countless blows to Belfort's face. Jacare looked at referee Osiris Maia to stop the fight and Maia eventually obliged. We all know that Belfort isn't the fighter he once was, due to both age and other issues, but he looks like a fighter who is totally washed up. He isn't going to drop out of the top-ten of the UFC rankings, but Belfort may not be a top-ten middleweight at this point. It's be a quick, rough fall.
Fantasy AnalysisOther than two wins over a washed up Dan Henderson, Belfort doesn’t have a victory dating back to May 2013. His trademark power has appears to have evaporated, and even when he seemingly had former champion Chris Weidman in trouble early in their title fight, Belfort simply couldn’t take advantage. The middleweight division has acquired enough depth over the past 12 months, so it is highly unlikely that Vitor will ever earn another title shot. Should he fail against Jacare, it is entirely conceivable that he could fall out of the top-five. If Belfort’s power doesn’t return by Saturday night, he figures to be in for a long evening. The odds of him earning a decision against a grappler the level of Jacare are slim.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort has won four of his last five fights, and has one of the most impressive resumes out of all veterans in the UFC. He'll take on a hungry Souza, who will be looking to avenge his only professional loss since 2011. Belfort has 18 professional knockout wins, and Souza owns 13 wins by submission, so something will have to give in the middleweight matchup.
Fantasy AnalysisIn all seriousness, it may have been the first strike attempted by either man in the entire fight. Both fighters spent the first two-plus minutes circling each other before Belfort landed one of his trademark head kicks and then finished Henderson with strikes. It was a very similar finish to Belfort's win over Henderson back in 2013. Vitor has a ways to go to get another middleweight title shot, but he can easily beat up guys like Henderson who are well past their prime. It's hard to see what's next for Belfort in a crowded middleweight division, perhaps a fight with a guy like Lyoto Machida or Tim Kennedy.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort hasn't fought since he came up short in his quest for the UFC middleweight title against Chris Weidman in May. He hasn't won a fight since he knocked out Henderson with a head kick in November 2013. This will be the third fight and the rubber match between the two. Vitor is 38-years old, but he is a a spring chicken compared to Henderson. Fighting in his native Brazil, it is no surprise that Belfort is a massive favorite for this one.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort, who is currently rehabbing a shoulder injury, is coming off a first-round TKO loss to UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in May. This will be the third bout between Belfort and Henderson. They each have one victory thus far in their feud.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort last fought in May at UFC 187, when the 38-year-old lost an opportunity for a middleweight title by losing to Chris Weidman in convincing fashion. Bisping, on the other hand, is fresh off a split-decision victory over Thales Leites at UFC Fight Night 72. The two fighters last met in the octagon in January of 2013, when Belfort came away with a knockout victory by a high kick in the second round. Should the rematch happen, it would likely be a more calculated bout with two fighters at the later stages of their careers.
Fantasy AnalysisBelfort gave himself a chance. He clocked Weidman a few times early in the fight, but he gave up an easy takedown shortly thereafter and he was mauled on the ground before referee Herb Dean finally stepped in to stop the fight. The total strikes ended up 48-22 in favor of Weidman. Belfort is a legend in the sport, but at 38 years-old and clearly not as strong without TRT, this may have been his last shot at a UFC championship.