Luke Rockhold doesn’t care about Vitor Belfort’s ground game


Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold has an opportunity to make a big splash in his UFC debut this weekend. Should he defeat longtime contender Vitor Belfort, he’s going to be on a short list of actual contenders for the 185 lb. belt. And while many are giving the edge to Belfort in this pivotal tilt, Rockhold continues to express that the advantages are his, speaking up to MMA Junkie Radio:

“[Belfort] is using more kicks, but being a southpaw vs. southpaw, it’s going to nullify a lot of the kicks for him. If it goes to the ground, I think it’s my world. I know he’s a longtime black belt, but black belts don’t mean s–t to me.”

Quite the strong statement from the young AKA product, who does have some BJJ championship titles under his belt. But Belfort nearly ripped Jon Jones’ arm off at UFC 152, so it’s highly debatable as to who has the better ground game of the two. Rockhold knows the many strengths of Belfort, and will look to utilize his in order to nullify ‘The Phenom’:

“I definitely want to keep it exciting and high-paced and keep a lot of pressure on Vitor. I feel like I can beat him anywhere, and I have to employ my range and my kickboxing. I’m not going to just straight box with Vitor. That would be stupid.”

“It’s really going to refine my skills and perfect my striking and make me be very precise. I expect a different fight for me.”

Rockhold makes a good point here, in that he most likely won’t have much of a chance should he engage in a slugfest with the well-known power of Belfort. He does, however, maintain an advantage in the reach department, something that will come into play heavily as he tries to keep his opponent’s power at bay.

It appears that Luke Rockhold has done his research and has a good gameplan in place. But all that could go out the window when you step into the Octagon with a bomb-dropper like Belfort. Rockhold has utmost confidence in his abilities. Do you?

  • Luke is actually one of those guys I think will come into UFC and do well. He's still relatively young and did good against the best outside of the UFC. Vitor is very good, but Luke is very crisp and offers a solid record of subs on the ground.

    Jon Jone is a great fighter, but he's young. He's BJJ experience is under developed. Luke is 28 and has choked out half a dozen guys. I see it being different. Vitor could land and win it, but I don't see a sub by Vitor. I think Luke has the maturity and skill sets to get the job done.

  • Unless Luke is looking to take the fight to the ground, I don't see Vitor's ground game as being an issue. Vitor's striking is more apt to be the pause for concern.

    Taking on Vitor Belfort, in Brazil, in your debut fight within The UFC and in front of a large PPV audience, is a tall order for any man to take on. Good luck to Luke…at least with the travel and butterflies.

  • ^ Not PPV, free.
    Luke's coming off very cocky. I hope Vitor lets his hand go & ends this in a KO.