LAS VEGAS, February 5 – Vitor Belfort was widely considered to be the most dangerous threat to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title reign. So Silva did what you’re supposed to do to such threats – he eliminated him immediately, knocking out Belfort in the first round to retain his crown for the eighth time Saturday night in the UFC 126 main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In the process, Silva broke a tie with Matt Hughes for most successful title defenses in UFC history. See post-fight interview
“That’s just one of the tricks I was working on,” said Silva, who, for all intents and purposes, ended the bout with a spectacular front kick to the chin.
The chants of “Vitor, Vitor” came from the rafters as soon as referee Mario Yamasaki called the two fighters to battle, but there would be no initial fireworks, as the two cautiously circled each other for the first 90 seconds until Belfort landed a range-finding leg kick. At the midway point, with still no meaningful action, Silva began showboating, with Belfort finally firing off a 1-2. Moments later, Belfort caught a Silva kick and the two tumbled to the mat. They rose quickly, and Silva, significantly warmed up, eluded a Belfort haymaker and came back with a blistering left front kick to the chin that dropped “The Phenom.” Quickly moving in, Silva landed a 1-2 on his prone foe, and that was enough for Yamasaki to call a halt to the bout as the 3:25 mark.
“He caught me with a great kick,” said Belfort. “Anderson Silva is a great fighter. I’ll be back.”
With the win, Silva improves to 28-4; Belfort falls to 19-9.
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