Two of the best middleweights in the world took to the Octagon last night (Jan. 19, 2013) with some seriously high stakes as Vitor Belfort battled Michael Bisping in the main event of UFC on FX 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Bisping had everything to lose entering the fight, stepping into serious hostile territory knowing that a victory over "The Phenom" would finally give him the title shot he's been dreaming of receiving ever since winning the third season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
And he did.
Early on, Belfort let Bisping be the aggressor, sitting back cautiously and circling on the outside while "The Count" put pressure on him moving forward with jabs, leg kicks and the occasional right hand.
When Belfort finally started to go on the offensive, he threw some heavy body kicks and some power punches up high, although Bisping was able to avoid all of the significant blows.
Near the end of the first round, Belfort's hard work finally paid off as the body kicks he'd thrown put Bisping's guard down and instead of to the body, he threw a solid left high kick to the head which clipped the Brit, although he couldn't finish him with a late round flurry of punches.
Despite having just been hit by the high kick at the end of the first round, Bisping didn't adjust his defense and Belfort threw another left high kick and this one caught "The Count" flush, sending him crashing to the canvas. Belfort pounced with heavy punches and the fetal fighter could no longer intelligently defend himself, forcing the referee to intervene and put a halt to the proceedings as the Brazilian crowd went wild.
For Michael Bisping, this was his shot to finally get that coveted opportunity to fight for the title and he blew it. Everyone and their mother knew that Belfort was only going to be dangerous in the first round or two of a five round fight, but he didn't keep his guard up long enough to outlast "The Phenom's" window of winning the fight. Surprisingly, he was the aggressor in the first round instead of just working on the outside and getting Belfort to tire out. There were also failed opportunities to clinch or utilize his vastly improving wrestling, which also would have slowed down his Brazilian foe.
Last but not least, he completely failed to adjust his defenses. Belfort hurt him with a head kick at the end of the first round, but the next time he threw a head kick in the second, Bisping still defended low. This was a huge blunder which cost him the fight as the TUF season three winner was unable to recover from the blow.
Next up for Bisping would likely be one of the other recent contenders who blew their opportunities to potentially earn a title shot like Alan Belcher or Tim Boetsch. A fight against Rich Franklin would also be intriguing.
For Vitor Belfort, he did a very good job of staying patient and not expending all his energy in the first round like he's done in his prior fights. He waited for an opportunity to strike, and despite it not coming until the end of the first round, he didn't force it and his patience paid off. Bisping seemed prepared for whatever Belfort was going to offer in the punching realm, but his kicks caught him by surprise. The body kicks were the perfect foreshadowing for going up high with a head kick and when he had him hurt, he made sure to put a stamp on it by pounding the Brit until the ref yanked him off.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did you expect Bisping to get put away in the first two rounds? What did you make of Belfort's perplexing post-fight speech?