Vitor Belfort wanted to prove he was back and that he deserved to be a middleweight title contender again.
Belfort looked lightning fast, explosive and incredibly dangerous while obliterating "Sexyama" in less than two minutes of fight time.
What set off "The Phenom" and where do both men go from here?
Let's find out
Belfort surprised fans and even the commentators with a solid head kick early but he was biding his time, waiting to strike like a coiled rattlesnake.
Akiyama made a half-hearted attempt to grab a leg but then he did something that completely changed Belfort's demeanor, he threw a front kick at "The Phenom's" face.
Maybe it brought back bad memories of Anderson Silva, but the former champion immediately lunged forward with a pair of big left hooks, one of them clipping Akiyama and sending him to the canvas.
Belfort swarmed the South Korean with his patented lightning-quick punches and a big left hook sent Akiyama to the canvas again. Some final ground and pound, including two nasty shots to the back of the head left him out cold. There has been some debate about the legality of those final blows, and yes, they were the reason for the knockout, but when you've got your opponent on the ropes, it's a "heat of the moment" type of thing. How the final decision on the knockout plays out will be something for the commission to handle.
What does this mean for Yoshihiro Akiyama though? He's won three "Fight of the Night" awards and has been on the receiving end of a "Knockout of the Night" in his four UFC fights. Fans can expect something wild to happen every time he steps into the cage. The problem is he's lost three in a row now. Dana White and the UFC will likely want to keep him around, at least for one more fight, but it won't be at middleweight. He's always been the smaller man when fighting at 185 pounds and it's time to make the cut if he wants to remain a part of the promotion and fight in that February event in Japan.
For Vitor Belfort, he clamored for a title shot afterwards, but he's going to have to get in line. For once, The UFC is brimming with title contenders. With Yushin Okami already preparing to challenge Anderson Silva, there's already a likely number one contender fight in Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann. Don't be surprised to see Belfort face either the Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz winner, or the Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago winner.
So Maniacs, what did you think of Belfort's performance last night? Has the time he's put in with Ray Sefo paid off? What does the UFC do with Yoshihiro Akiyama now?