It would be interesting to get our collective thoughts out there on the types of things Vitor Belfort could do in his upcoming fight against the LHW Champion and current fan-favorite Jon Jones. There are some brilliant minds here on this site, and while the Las Vegas oddsmakers certainly don't think Belfort has a legitimate chance to dethrone Jones, that doesn't mean he has no chance at all.
Let's start from the top, come fight night Belfort will be standing across the octagon from Jones and the referee will start the fight. A few different scenarios could play out in the first 30 seconds or so of Round 1 which could possibly be the most pivotal time period of this fight.
Let's break a few things down that Vitor could try to put into action to come out on top at UFC 152.In several of his more recent fights we've seen Jones immediately crouch low to the canvas and creep out to the center of the octagon prior to engaging. This is an interesting and strategic tactic that has confused past opponents while limiting their options. It also allows Jones to dictate how the fight initializes while maintaining a very low center of gravity, all while limiting an opponent's ability to throw kicks or knees as he can stay grounded by keeping a hand in contact with the canvas.
I feel that Belfort should be preparing for this fight to start one of two ways: with Jones coming out and striking toe-to-toe while positioning for a takedown or for Jones to employ the previously described crouch-and-creep tactic. Belfort has speed and KO power, hopefully he is preparing a strategy to close the distance rapidly and swarm Jones with a barrage of punches if he comes out low to the ground.
If Jones chooses to stand and trade with Belfort, Vitor should move to close the distance, plan to take a shot or two and really push the pace while throwing power shots. Jones got rattled but recovered very quickly in his fight with Lyoto Machida, Belfort should try to put the champion's chin to the test in this matchup. Obviously it's easier to write, "close the distance versus Jon Jones" than to accomplish that feat in the octagon. Here's to the hope that we'll see the Brazilian push the pace while throwing power shots as long as the fight remains on their feet.
Belfort should really look at this like a two round fight. He may be in serious trouble if he finds himself in a long drawn-out battle with Jones. If Jones plays it conservative, he may be looking to clinch up and outwrestle Belfort forcing him into the deeper waters of later rounds. This is not a good place to be in as Jones' conditioning appears to be top notch and his striking remains dangerous throughout all five rounds. Belfort needs to land several big clean shots, and those shots need to be landed in the first or second round to give him the best shot at coming out on top.
What are some of the collective thoughts out there to build on what Belfort could do to improve his odds of walking away a champion at UFC 152? Any insight on his takedown defense or other skills that may play a critical role in this matchup? Have at it Maniacs.