Vitor Belfort

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Name: Vitor Belfort
Alias: The Phenom
Born: 1977-04-01
Birthplace: Río de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hometown: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 6′ 0″   /   183cm
Boxing Record: click

Career Review

Vitor Belfort was a standout in Jujitsu in his native country of Brazil in South America. As a teenager, Belfort studied under the legendary Carlson Gracie, uncle of Royce and Rickson Gracie. According to video's from Brazil, Belfort compiled a 20-0 jujistsu record as an amateur and a 0-1 record in free-style wrestling. When the Ultimate Fighting Championships took off in the United States, Carlson Gracie decided to move to the United States and begin Belfort on a professional Mixed Martial Arts career.

Since Belfort was already highly skilled in submissions, Gracie enrolled the help of former professional boxer Al Stankie to work on Belfort's striking abilities. In less then a year, Gracie felt that Belfort was ready to make his professional debut.

At the age of 19, in his first sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts match in an event called "Superbrawl in Hawaii," Belfort destroyed 6 feet 9 inch. John(The Giant With An Attitude) Hess in 20 seconds. Belfort was introduced in this fight as Vitor Gracie, but decided on competing under his real name after that.

Soon after, he moved on to compete in the UFC. Around this time he was given the nickname "The Phenom." In his first tournament, Belfort scored quick first round stoppages over Tra Telligman and Scott (The Pit-Bull) Ferrozzo. Later he TKO-ed Tank Abbott in a non-tournament fight, knocking Tank down and using ground and pound tactics. These victories established Belfort as the hottest prospect in Mixed Martial arts.

In 1997 Belfort fought against American Greco-Roman wrestler Randy Couture. Belfort was beaten by TKO 8:16 into the match, his boxing skills negated by Couture's clinch and pound tactics.

After his defeat, he fought twice more in the UFC. His first fight was against a training partner of his: Joe Charles whom he defeated quickly via Armbar, without throwing a single punch. Due to the lack of punches and the fact that Charles was a training partner of Belfort, speculation arose that the matched was either a 'work', (the outcome having been arranged beforehand), or that both fighters had made a gentlemen's agreement to not strike and only participate in what was effectively a BJJ sparring match.

A year later, Belfort faced rising Brazilian star Wanderlei Silva in the UFC. Catching Silva early with a jab, he chased him across the ring with punches and pinned Silva against the fence, TKO-ing the Brazilian in 44 seconds.

Vitor then moved on to fight in Japan's Pride Fighting Championships. His first opponent was Kazushi Sakuraba in 1999. Vitor controlled the first minutes of the fight before suffering a hand injury. His striking skills now limited, Belfort resorted to falling to the ground repeatedly and attempted to get Sakuraba to get into his guard. Sakuraba however, stomped and kicked Belfort in his legs whilst he lay on his back. Belfort said after the fight "I didn't fight; I survived". Following the fight he stopped training with Carlson Gracie and started to train with Brazilian Top Team.

He fought four more times in Pride against Gilbert Yvel, Daijiro Matsui, Bobby Southworth and Heath Herring. For these matches Belfort utilised his stand up striking skills less and instead controlled the fights and won by ground and pound tactics. With the exception of his fight with Bobby Southworth: where he won via Rear Naked Choke in the first round, all his wins were by decision in Pride.

Belfort even tried his hand at the Abu Dhabi Submission Championships in which strikes are not allowed. Belfort met with mixed results; winning three and dropping decisions to Mark Robinson and Ricardo Arona.

Returning to the UFC, Belfort fought Chuck Liddell, (Loss via decision), then Marvin Eastman, (Win via TKO), opening a severe cut on Eastman's eyebrow with a knee strike.

His next major fight was on February 2nd 2004 against Randy Couture (a rematch, after Vitor lost the first). Vitor won the fight in 49 seconds when a seam from his glove cut Couture's eyelid, prompting a referee stoppage. Another rematch took place on August 21st 2004. Couture won via doctor stoppage after the third round, due to accumulated punishment.

His next fight was in UFC against Tito Ortiz on February 5th 2005, Belfort losing by split decision.

Belfort entered PRIDE's Middleweight Grand Prix on April 23 2005. He lost in the opening round to Dutch Golden Glory fighter Alistair Overeem via guillotine choke.

Belfort fought Antony Rea on December 3rd and defeated him via KO at Cage Rage 14 in 2nd round.

On April 12, 2006, Belfort made his long awaited professional boxing debut by knocking out Josemario Neves in 1 round. However, it seems that Belfort's heart is still with Mixed Martial Arts, and since that victory, Belfort has fought three more MMA matches; dropping decisions to Alister Overeem and Dan Henderson.


This article was copied from Wikipedia.