It’s not so much that Johnson was on Belfort’s level when they met making the performance impressive but rather the shenanigans leading up to the action unfolding. Johnson struggled to make weight and ultimately failed, leaving Belfort in an uncomfortable position. He ultimately agreed to the tilt and it turned out to be a good decision, as Belfort dominated Johnson and submitted him before the opening round had expired.
Abbott was far from a technical fighter but still a tough foe. He was known for knocking opponents out and approaching action aggressively. Of course, that played right into Vitor’s hands – literally – with the 20-year old Brazilian knocking the bearded brawler out in less than a minute.
Lindland was still fairly respected when he crossed paths with Belfort. A grappling ace with submissions to boot, his style was also suited to grounding “The Phenom” and working on him from above. In the end, it was the former Olympian who ended up tasting canvas, suffering a brutal knockout 37 seconds into the scrap.
A decade ago Herring was a game heavyweight on a four-fight winning streak when he ran into Belfort. Though a submission artist with heavy hands, “The Texas Crazyhorse” couldn’t put Belfort away and instead ate numerous shots en route to a decision loss. The victory would be Belfort’s last in PRIDE until 2006 when he returned after a stint in the UFC and abroad.
Rockhold wasn’t wearing Strikeforce gold when he fought Belfort but he was definitely the organization’s champion. Though the title became obsolete when Strikeforce folded just before Rockhold’s UFC debut, Rockhold’s talent certainly remained. However, he only lasted half a round before eating a spinning heel kick and subsequently some fight-ending strikes.
Sure, Belfort’s win over Couture came on a technicality when his glove cut the UFC Hall of Famer’s eyelid and forced a stoppage. Still, it was one of the most notable wins of Belfort’s career, hence placement on the list. It earned him the UFC light heavyweight title and came with a heavy heart due to the disappearance of his sister weeks earlier.
Belfort and Silva have a rivalry dating back more than a decade. Though they aren’t likely to ever face off again, their meeting in 1998 is highly memorable based on the viciousness involved. The two countrymen immediately collided in the cage with Belfort getting the better of Silva, catching him with a stiff cross sending “The Axe Murderer” down and out.
Bisping did his best to get in Belfort’s head leading up to their clash for top contendership, spewing a constant stream of smack regarding the Brazilian’s heart and decision to use TRT. The talk meant little come showtime with Belfort rocking Bisping early. “The Count” survived until the second round but couldn’t withstand Belfort’s power for much longer, succumbing to strikes before the frame’s midway point.
After years away, Belfort returned to the UFC to face Franklin in his final/current run in the Octagon. In familiar fashion, “The Phenom” quickly disposed of his foe, stopping Franklin with strikes before the second stanza came into play. The victory earned him a title-shot and reminded UFC fans he was a force to be reckoned with.
Belfort’s most recent win is also the biggest of his career. Not only were the stakes high, as he was risking his shot at the middleweight title by taking on a light heavyweight, but Henderson is one of the finest fighters of this generation. Belfort went on to deliver the first knockout loss of Henderson’s career and only needed 77 seconds to do it. The finish was fantastic, showing that, despite criticism about Brazil once again serving as the backdrop for victory, Belfort is the man to beat right now at 185 pounds.
36-year old icon
has been blasting opponents into orbit for more than fifteen years. The heavy-handed Brazilian’s latest example of sublime striking came this weekend at Vitor Belfort where Belfort accomplished the previously unthinkable by stopping UFC Fight Night 32 Dan Henderson with strikes. So where did the victory over “Hendo” stack up on Belfort’s all-time list of wins? (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)