Vitor Belfort: Top 5 MMA Finishes

Standing 6ft (1.82m) tall, and weighing in at 185lb (84kg), Vitor Vieira Belfort (aka “The Phenom”) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist who was born April 1st, 1977 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Respected Brazilian boxing coach, Claudio Coelho began training Vitor Belfort when he was just 12 years of age. Claudio himself has been associated with boxing for 30 years, and has always encouraged and impressed its importance and integration upon his community of Pavão-Pavãozinho, Cantagalo – in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.

A long list of national athletes including the likes of Royce Gracie, (ranked the third greatest Mixed Martial Artist of all time by Inside MMA) Pedro Rizzo, Marcos Ruas, and Murilo Bustamante, have all progressed and competed under the strict vigil of Claudio Coelho.

Vitor Belfort also practised Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and earned his black belt under the guidance of MMA champion and pioneer Carlson Gracie. Carlson Gracie’s championship reign stood for a mammoth thirty years spanning the 1950’s until the 1970’s.

Vitor signed with the UFC at 19 years of age, in 1996 after his win at Superbrawl 2 in Hawaii where he defeated opponent, Jon Hess by knockout in a mere 12 seconds.

His debut in the UFC saw him win the UFC 12 event as he emerged crowd-pleasingly victorious to be crowned not only the Heavyweight Tournament Champion defeating two opponents, Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo, on the same night, but also to be heralded the youngest MMA fighter to win inside the octagon!

In 1999, he fought under Pride Fighting Championships. Pride FC was a Japanese MMA Promotion founded by Nobuyuki Sakakibara in 1997. Vitor fought in 5 Pride Fighting championship matches from 1999 to 2001. Unfortunately for him, he broke his hand in his fight against Kazushi Sakuraba in 1999 before he was kicked and stomped, losing out by unanimous decision.

He won his next four bouts against Gilbert Yvel, Daijiro Matsui, and Heath Herring by unanimous decision, and one against Bobby Southworth via a first-round rear-naked choke.

An unexpected incident rattled Vitor Belfort, as he was preparing to take on Randy Couture for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on 31st January 2004. His sister disappeared on 9th January that year and up until now, not much seems to be known about her save that she may have gotten caught up in human trafficking. Despite this traumatic event, Vitor won the bout against Randy in 49 seconds.

Vitor Belfort trains with Dr. Pedro Diaz who has a Ph.D. in Pedagogical Sciences with a specialization in boxing.

As a professional boxing coach, he has worked with many stars of the boxing world including the likes of Miguel Cotto (Puerto Rico), Guillermo Rigondeaux (Cuba/USA), Jean Pascal (Canada), David Lemieux (Canada), and Grigory Drozd (Russia), among others.

Belfort now 43, has signed up to One Championship’s heavyweight roster, joining the Singapore-based promotion last year, and is currently training hard for his upcoming debut against Alain Ngalani.

Okay, now you’ve had the back story, let’s tune in for some explosive K.O. action in Vitor Belfort: Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)

  1. Vs. Nate Marquardt – UFC 212 (June 3, 2017)
  2. Vitor Belfort vs Nate Marquardt

    The match began with Nate Marquardt throwing knees to the stomach of Vitor going for the clinch and then taking him down to the ground.

    Referee Osiris Maia decided to enforce a stand-up as they were grounded for too long, having less than 3 minutes to go in round one.

    At three minutes in, Vitor attacked Marquardt’s body with an aggressively powerful high kick. Both fighters kept changing stances and fought the round very cautiously.

    At a minute 22 seconds into round two, Vitor unleashed a ferocious barrage of powerful jabs, hook, and knees as Nate fails to keep him out of harm’s way. Vitor won the match via unanimous decision in round three.

    1. Vs. Scott Ferrozzo – UFC 12 (Feb. 7, 1997)
    2. This UFC event was the first one to feature weight categories including the heavyweight class.

      It marked Vitor’s UFC debut, (and interestingly enough, commentator Joe Rogan’s first appearance) and at only 19 years-old he was faced with an experienced opponent, 11 years his senior.

      At 19 seconds into round one, Vitor hurled a left jab and took his opponent down for back control. Scott, weighing in at a hefty 323lb at the time, found this to be a great hindrance to him and his agility was severely hampered.

      Now being in the dominant back position, Vitor unleashed a flurry of right-hand jabs and went for the ground and pound.

      The match finished via TKO punches at 43 seconds of round one as referee “Big” John McCarthy intervened.

      1. Vs. Anthony Johnson – UFC 142 (Jan. 14, 2012)
      2. This match was held at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

        Anthony Johnson missed the weigh in limit of 186lb by 11 pounds.

        UFC president Dana White was not impressed giving the ultimatum that Johnson will be fighting for his job, either win or lose.

        Belfort tried to get an early advantage on Johnson with a misfired high kick at 13 seconds into round one, but Johnson grounded him with a big right-hand jab to his face and four left-hand hooks with the referee Dan Miragliotta intervening to force a stand-up.

        Due to Anthony missing the weight limit Vitor Belfort had an advantage. Anthony looked for another takedown as Belfort was against the cage with the referee forcing another stand-up at 1 minute, 40 seconds.

        At 3 minutes 40 into the round, Anthony hastily looked for a knockout as he threw a high knee, and a flying right fist towards Vitor Belfort, all in vain. Quickly after, Vitor hurled jabs at Anthony going for back control whilst hurling powerful jabs, elbows to the face, and exacting a rear-naked choke at 4 minutes 49 seconds into the first round for the submission win.

        This match is ranked the no.82 Greatest Middleweight MMA Fight of All Time, the no.19 best MMA Fight of the Year 2012, and no.10 Best MMA Submission of the Year for 2012.

        1. Vs. Michael Bisping – UFC on FX 7 (Jan. 19, 2013)
        2. This fight was held at Geraldo Jose de Almeida State Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The whole stadium was abuzz with fans cheering for their favoured fighter.

          At 55 seconds into round one, Michael “The Count” Bisping smashed Vitor Belfort’s inner thigh with a resounding kick. Belfort shortly after hurled a high kick right to the head of Bisping who just barely defended it with his hands.

          From there, the fighters looked very active continuously changing their stances. At 2 minutes 40 seconds into round one Bisping tried to jab Vitor who retaliated with a counter jab.

          With 10 seconds to go in the first round, Vitor unleashed a flurry of left-right jabs, kick, and knees to the stomach of Bisping.

          In round two, at a minute and 20 seconds in, Belfort cracked a kick straight to Bisping’s head taking him down and effectively knocking him out, whereupon he went for the ground and pound. The referee quickly intervened to call the fight. (Unfortunately, Bisping suffered a detached retina from the fight causing some vision alignment issues.)

          This match was ranked the no.5 Best MMA Knockout of the Year in 2013 and no.34 Best MMA Fight of the Year, 2013.

          1. Vs. Luke Rockhold – UFC on FX 8 (May 18, 2013)
          2. The UFC FX8 event was held at Arena Jaraguá Do Sul, Brazil. Before this match, Luke Rockhold was enjoying a phenomenal 9-win streak, cruising to victory in 7 of those matches in just the first round.

            This match saw all that turn south with Luke Rockhold just managing to hang on for two and a half minutes of the bout only to lose via knockout.

            Vitor Belfort shocked his opponent by throwing a fierce, spinning heel kick right to his jaw which found Luke down and out. Vitor immediately followed up with five savage punches to his face before the referee swiftly got in to call the match.

            This match is ranked no.3 Best MMA Knockout of the Year 2013, and no.18 Greatest Knockout of All Time. This fight was also won the Knockout of the Night rewarding Belfort with a $50,000 bonus.

            So there we have it folks, 5 of Vitor Belfort’s best MMA Finishes! Having racked up an extensive record of  26 wins with 18 TKO/KO’s and 3 submissions, where would you rank Belfort among the Heavyweight hitmen? What’s your favourite fight moment from “The Phenom” from the list above?

            Which fighter would you like to see get KFK’d next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram.

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Atif Khan

Atif Khan is an MA graduate in International Journalism from Cardiff University. He is keenly Interested in learning about all types of martial arts and their essence in cultivating strong physical and mental strength. He's always been fascinated by Chinese kung fu pioneers along with their mystical animal styles, forms and poses, and their hard work philosophy leading to a balanced way of life.

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