On February 5th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort will face the toughest challenge of his career, fighting Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Title. Belfort’s position as the #1 contender for the UFC Middleweight title surely raises a lot of questions, and yet, the fight against Anderson Silva is expected to be one of the most exciting fights in the history of the UFC Middleweight division.
Let’s start with some interesting statistics.
Vitor Belfort never fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship as a Middleweight. Belfort’s last Middleweight bout was against Matt Lindland at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, on January 24th, 2009. That’s 2 years and 12 days before UFC 126. His last UFC bout was against Rich Franklin at UFC 103 on September 19th of 2009, which translates to 1 year and 4 months before UFC 126. Belfort fought only three times during the last two and half years, 6 minutes and 51 seconds in total.
So statistics-wise, having Vitor Belfort as the UFC Middleweight Title challenger makes no sense at all. But still, Belfort has a reputation of a well-rounded fighter and dangerous striker with Flash Gordon hands speed. Right now, it’s hard to think about another UFC Middleweight who has the same attributes as Vitor Belfort. “The Phenom” is a perfect match-up for Anderson Silva in any given day, so it doesn’t really matter when was his last bout.
And it puts Anderson Silva in a very risky situation. He’s fighting someone who’s on paper not supposed to be a challenger, but yet, someone who has a very good chance to knock him out.
It’s a classic story about a fighter who comes “out of nowhere” to defeat the ultimate champion. It will also be a very emotional moment for Vitor Belfort, as he finally gets a shot at glory after everything he experienced in his private life.
“”The Spider” was in the cage against elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters and relentless wrestlers such as Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, but again, he never fought someone with such an impressive KO ratio as Vitor Belfort. Yes, Patrick Cote and James Irvin are great fighters, but Belfort is quite a different specimen.
In world of pure statistics, the event would be called UFC 126: Silva vs. Okami. However, Silva vs. Belfort match-up has all the necessary attributes of an epic battle. Despite his remarkable achievements, Anderson Silva still has a lot to prove, and Vitor Belfort is the right man to test him.