“Can somebody beat him up for me, please?”
Aside from a genuine, non-ironic “talk to the hand” that I had no idea people still said, that was all that Vitor Belfort had to say to reporters during the post-fight press conference last night about the elephant in the room. And frankly, I’m not going to add much else about it, either. You couldn’t talk to many fans – or even the fighters involved – about this fight without engaging in a lengthy discussion about drug usage. Naturally, Belfort winning the fight only intensified these discussions, as though there should be an asterisk next to the W on his record.
In many ways, the elephant in the room seemed to overshadow the actual fight between Belfort and Rockhold. That’s tragic, considering what we were treated to.
I won’t write that Belfort’s chemical wizardry is completely meaningless in a fight; if it was, he wouldn’t bother with it. But attributing the absolutely brilliant spinning kick that ended this fight – and made a strong case for Knockout of the Year for this year’s Potato Awards – to a loaded syringe is just as laughably misinformed. Belfort was Rockhold’s first true test, and The Phenom simply proved to be too much for him.
Still, I wouldn’t be as optimistic about the idea of Belfort taking on the winner of Silva vs. Weidman as some people are being. Does Belfort deserve to fight the winner? Absolutely. But there’s a reason the UFC danced around the issue during the post-fight press conference, and yes, that reason is related to the same elephant in the room that overshadowed this fight. I’ll put it this way: If Silva wins, hosting a rematch against Belfort in Brazil makes sense. If Weidman wins? Not so much, and hosting Weidman vs. Belfort in the United States is playing with fire, as far as NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer is concerned.
Elsewhere on the card…
- The co-main event pitted former Strikeforce champion Chris Camozzi. Most of us dismissed this fight as little more than a bump in the road for Jacare, and most of us were correct in doing so.
Okay, that might be a little too harsh. Camozzi deserves a ton of credit for even accepting this fight on short notice, let alone for putting up the fight that he did. But Jacare is just that much better than Camozzi, and without much time to prepare, Camozzi was little more than a slightly-resistant grappling dummy. It’s a thrill to watch Jacare’s ground game, and hopefully we’ll get to see him test it against the deep end of the division soon.
- Here goes nothing: Did I think Dunham won? Yes. But did he get “ROBBED!!!!” in an unforgivably biased decision? No. This fight wasn’t under Stockton Rules – the blood on the face of shouldn’t affect your opinion on who won the fight. I personally think dos Anjos won round one, Dunham won round two, and the third round – although I gave it to Dunham – could have gone either way. It wasn’t a robbery, it was a very close fight that arguably deserved Fight of the Night honors. There’s a big difference between the two.
- Rafael Natal defeated Joao Zeferino. Zerefino was completely spent by the second round, and Natal couldn’t have given less of a fuck while in the cage with him. Not in the fun “I’m going to throw a bunch of spinning stuff because whatever you can’t stop me” way, but in the “Mir vs. Cro Cop: someone has to win, I guess” way. Move along people, there’s nothing to see here.
- I’m willing to bet that you didn’t watch the Fight of the Night winning scrap betweenand that kicked off the Facebook preliminaries. That’s a shame, because you missed a great fight. This wasn’t a technical masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, it was a downright brawl that saw Larsen control the first two rounds before walking into a devastating punch from Martins just thirteen seconds into the final round. It sucks to lose like that, but the $50,000 both fighters took home probably numbs the pain a bit.
- Submission of the Night went to Jacare, and Knockout of the Night went to Belfort. All bonuses were worth $50,000.
Vitor Belfort def. Luke Rockhold via KO (spinning heel kick and punches), 2:32 of Round One
Ronaldo Souza def. Chris Camozzi via technical submission (arm triangle choke), 3:37 of Round One
Rafael dos Anjos def. Evan Dunham via Unanimous Decision
Rafael Natal def. Joao Zeferino via Unanimous Decision
Nik Lentz def. Hacran Dias via Unanimous Decision
Francisco Trinaldo def. Mike Rio via submission (arm triangle choke), 3:08 of Round One
Gleison Tibau def. John Cholish via submission (guillotine choke), 2:34 of Round Two
Paulo Thiago def. Michel Prazeres via Unanimous Decision
Yuri Alcantara def. Iliarde Santos via TKO (punches), 2:31 of Round One
Fabio Maldonado def. Roger Hollett Unanimous Decision
John Lineker def. Azamat Gashimov via TKO (punches), 1:07 of Round Two
Jussier Formiga def. Chris Cariaso via Unanimous Decision
Lucas Martins def. Jeremy Larsen via KO (punch), 0:13 of Round Three