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UFC 212 results: Vitor Belfort decisions Nate Marquardt, refutes retirement - ‘I have five fights left’

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Belfort vs Henderson Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

After more than 20 years competing in mixed martial arts (MMA), one of the true legends of the sport, Vitor Belfort, looked to go out on top in front of a hometown crowd, stepping inside the Octagon tonight (Sat., June 3, 2017) for perhaps the last time (maybe) against Nate Marquardt at UFC 212, which took place inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

And he did just that, earning a unanimous decision win over Marquardt after three rounds of calculated action.

Belfort — who unsurprisingly entered the Octagon to raucous applause and cheers — came out of his corner as he normally does — cool, calm, collected and looking to explode with a deadly combination. Marquardt, though, was equally as calculated, feinting and juking to gauge distance and identify an opening. And about one minute into the opening round he found it, closing the distance with a jab and using it to disguise his true intentions ... a takedown. Belfort did a good job of tying up his arms and apparently the referee felt Marquardt wasn’t doing enough with the position, standing them up after just one minute on the ground. Once on the feet, Belfort finally unleashed his powerful left hand, but Marquardt quickly circled away from danger. Belfort walked down Marquardt for the final minute, but was unable to pull the trigger and land anything effective.

Round two started out just like the first, slow, but Marquardt got on the board with a nice high kick, which he followed up with a combination. Belfort responded with a fast combination that back up Marquardt to the fence, where he continued to do damage with a barrage of uppercuts. Marquardt defended well and countered just well enough to get Belfort to back off, but it looked as if the Brazilian was on the verge of a finish. The fight soon returned to the center of the Octagon, where Marquardt landed with a hook that opened up a cut over Belfort’s left eye. Marquardt kept Belfort at a comfortable distance with inside kicks, then fired off some shots to keep him guessing and off balance. Both fighters traded shots just as the bell came to an end.

To begin the third and final frame, it was pretty much up to either man to win the round and, ultimately, the fight. Belfort’s strategy was similar to start round three — he waited and waited to explode as Marquardt touched him up from distance with straight jabs and kicks. The crowd began to chant, hoping to motivate Belfort to do more, but he was content to conserve his punches and wait for the right moment. He landed a solid headkick with 90 seconds to go, which appeared to hurt Marquardt, then finally began to turn up the volume. And Marquardt’s face showed the fruits of that labor, blood streaming down his face as the round came to a close.

It was a close fight, one that Belfort attempted to steal in short bursts. Those bursts, though, were few and far between; nevertheless, it was enough to impress the three judges sitting ringside, who awarded “The Phenom” his first decision win in seemingly forever. When asked about retirement, Belfort waived off announcer Brian Stann and proclaimed that he had five more fights remaining on his UFC contract.

Oh boy.

For complete UFC 212: “Aldo vs. Holloway” results, including play-by-play updates, click here and here.

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