The fight was a rematch of their first bout at Pride 32 back in 2006, where Henderson won a hard-fought decision over Belfort. This time around there was a ton of hype and media attention surrounding Belfort and his recent string of knockouts in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). "Phenom" had destroyed both Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold with emphatic headkicks earlier this year.
He was also under fire for his highly publicized use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
But, he let his fighting skills do the talking last night, notching his seventeenth knockout victory in mixed martial arts (MMA). Let's take a look back at Belfort's amazing performance at UFC Fight Night 32.
The fight began with a bit of a feeling-out process on the feet. That was soon over, however, as "Hendo" rushed in to look for one of his trademark right hands. Belfort responded with a vicious counter left hook that literally lifted Henderson off of the canvas floor.
Belfort swarmed in to for the kill.
The notoriously iron-chinned "Hendo" was in trouble. He ate several shots but got back up to his feet. That proved to be his undoing, as Belfort unleashed a picture-perfect left high kick that nailed Henderson flush and put him out for the count.
It was the first time Henderson had ever tasted defeat from a stoppage due to strikes.
It will also go down as the win that cemented Belfort's next shot at the UFC Middleweight championship. He's on a roll that is going to be hard for any fighter to ever duplicate or stop. At 36-years-old, Belfort is undoubtedly in the best shape of his life. As of right now there doesn't seem to be an answer for his lethal, relentless striking.
He'll await the winner of December's UFC 168 title rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, the man who put Belfort to sleep with a well-placed front kick at UFC 126. Were Silva to regain his title, a rematch with Belfort would definitely be one of the biggest fights in MMA history.
For "Hendo," the loss is devastating. He had a big opportunity to right the ship by defeating a huge name in Goiania last night. Instead, he got knocked out for the first time in his career.
There will be many calling for Henderson to retire, and perhaps he should. Age is beginning to catch up with the 43-year-old former champion. He really has nothing left to prove. Henderson will still be remembered as one of the most exciting fighters to ever step in to the cage.
His dream of adding the UFC belt to his sizeable list of accomplishments appears destined to never come to fruition, but he may still grace the Octagon yet again.
After the fight, Henderson was taken to the hospital but told Dana White he wanted a new contract.
We'll have to see what transpires in that regard.
Vitor Belfort turned in another earth-shaking performance for his Brazilian fans at UFC Fight Night 32. Will "Phenom's" goal of becoming UFC champion materialize? And will he ever venture to the United States to ply his trade?