Two of the most highly decorated middleweight contenders squared off last night (May 18, 2013) as former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort took on reigning Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC on FX 8 in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil.
Both men were potentially in line for a title shot against the Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman winner with an impressive performance.
Let's just say Belfort blew everyone's collective socks off.
Early on, Rockhold took the initiative, stalking down Belfort and gaining control of the cage center. Problem was, he was chasing Belfort around the Octagon rather than cutting off escape paths. This led to some off balance kick attempts and nearly got his head kicked off by walking into a Belfort spinning head kick.
After landing a few low kicks and some relatively harmless punches, Rockhold had the tables turned on him as Belfort started to get more aggressive.
The second Rockhold surrendered the cage center, things turned for the worse as Belfort pushed forward with punches. The second spinning head kick attempt from "The Phenom" landed flush, catching Rockhold off guard and sending him to the canvas in heaps of trouble.
A devastating finisher throughout his career, Belfort knew exactly what he needed to do next and he pounced, blasting Rockhold with shots on the ground and putting him away inside the first round.
For Luke Rockhold, he did a few things right in the bout, but they were overshadowed by the wrong. His biggest offense was chasing Belfort around the cage instead of cutting him off, allowing the Brazilian free roam rather than limiting his movement and making him more defensive. When that didn't work for him, he threw a half-hearted takedown attempt and frustratingly surrendered cage control. When Belfort started to mix in his punches, it completely opened the door for the spinning head kick, which completely caught Rockhold off guard. In fact, Rockhold's hands were still about chest high, which had no chance of blocking the kick anyways.