Will Vitor Belfort impose a successful strategy against Jon Jones this weekend (Sept. 22, 2012) at UFC 152? Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.
Vitor Belfort's last five fights have lasted under five minutes.
His previous four victories, he managed to finish his opponents in the opening frame while his sole loss during that stretch, a defeat at the hands of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, also came in the first round.
If those contests are any indication, it appears "The Phenom's" mentality is simple: Kill or be killed.
Belfort has not seen one of his fights go the distance since 2007, a unanimous decision victory over James Zikic to earn the Cage Rage light heavyweight title. On Sept. 22, 2012, Vitor will have the chance to earn another 205-pound belt for his mantle as he takes on division kingpin, Jon Jones, in the main event of UFC 152, which will take place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Jones, who many believe has yet to lose a round inside the Octagon, looks to defend his world title for the fourth consecutive time and keep his near-mint record on track, while Belfort is on a quest to prove that regardless of his age, he is more than capable of shocking the mixed martial arts (MMA) world.
But what kind of strategy will the Brazilian impose?
Will we see the fast-as-lighting Vitor that blitzes through his opponents using his laser-like striking that can end a bout in the blink of an eye? Or will we be treated to a more methodical, take your time, approach from "The Phenom?"
If you ask him, he is there to only fight for five minutes, as he explained to ESPN:
"As far as I know, I'm there to fight five minutes. If, after five minutes, nothing gets done we have another five, then I'll have a minute's rest and then another five. One more minute's rest and then another five... so as far as I know we're only going for five minutes - and then we see what's next. Every day I look at my children and I tell them I love them more than I did yesterday. That's how I treat life, that's how I treat fighting. Every day, every moment is my last. When me and Jones step in that cage, it's 50 percent for him, and 50 percent for me. Things can change right away, and that's why I need to be smart and alert."
Over his career, Belfort has made it a habit to start off early and finish strong, ending 14 of his 21 victories in under five minutes.
For the most part, "Bones" has proven to be a methodical fighter. He usually takes his time and picks his shots instead of running in and throwing caution to the wind, swinging haymakers and letting them land where they may.
However, he has proven, if the pressure is on, he is more than willing to exchange, as evidenced by the flying knee that he connected to a stalking Mauricio Rua in the opening seconds of their UFC 128 title fight last year, one that had "Shogun" seeing stars for the majority of the first round. He eventually went on to defeat Rua via third round technical knockout (TKO) to earn the title and begin his impressive run through the 205-pound weight class.
Which strategy will Jones and Belfort elect to enforce in their championship fight, remains to be seen.
The good news? We get to find out in under four days.