UFC on FX 7: Bisping v. Belfort
The UFC on FX in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was underscored with a pair of ground fights, a fight that was stopped at least six elbows too late, and two great headlining fights.
Brit Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping was hoping for a sound win over future hall-of-famer, Brazilian Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort, since UFC president Dana White promised The Count a shot at Anderson Silva if he came out with a win. It wasn’t meant to be.
Bisping came out with masterly use of distance and footwork, making Belfort, a veteran with vast experience, look off on his timing. Belfort has great speed, incredible KO power. Ten of his wins in the UFC averaged 2:00 minutes. Bisping, on the other hand, can and does finish with KOs and TKOs, but with volume since power is not something he possesses in excess.
Late in round one Bisping weathered a blazing head kick, but only barely. Early in round two Bisping was already bloody, and fell for the same high kick, figuratively and literally. Although Bisping is a great martial artist with many tools in his kit, the KO win for Belfort is the only outcome I’d envisioned.
Bisping took the loss well, vowing to come back stronger than ever. It’s hard to imagine Bisping handling any middleweight with power, let alone champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva. You can’t teach power: you either have it, or don’t.
Belfort was energized after the win, pleading for Dana White to “Get rid of that clown, Chael Sonnen, I don’t even know his name, and let me fight Jon Bones Jones”. Belfort nearly arm-barred Bones in their title match last year before being submitted by the champ.
In the other middleweight headliner, American CB Dollaway and Brazilian Daniel Sarafian fought a brilliant match, back and forth on the feet and on the ground. Dollaway nearly finished the fight in the second after being outworked in the first. An uppercut started it, but there wasn’t enough time before the bell for the American to finish it.
The third round was punctuated with technical grappling, brilliant sweeps, and advantages won and lost. Both fighters were exhausted by the end, and Dollaway took the decision fair and square.
This fight is one more example of how fans can whine and complain about a card or a fight, but never know what’ll happen till fight night.
Odds and ends
Heavyweight Ben Rothwell, granite chin in tow, was therefore choked out by Brazilian and former heavyweight belt challenger Gabriel Gonzaga after staggering his opponent with rights. Gonzaga continues to hold a gatekeeper position while not being an actual threat to the elite in the division. Rothwell, meanwhile, fails to win two in a row in the UFC despite a new training regimen and diet that has him looking better than ever.
Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov finished Thiago Tavares, beginning with crisp striking that dropped the Brazilian, and ending with about a half dozen more elbows than the ref, Dan Miragliotta ought to have allowed, setting off a firestorm of complaints on Twitter.
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