UFC 224 marks the end to one of the most illustrious careers in Ultimate Fighting Championship history.
Vitor Belfort has built a stellar career stopping people, mostly by devastating knockout. Some of his most notable wins include finishes of Rich Franklin, Matt Lindland, Michael Bisping and Wanderlei Silva. He also figured in trilogies with fellow legends Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, losing the rubber match with the former while defeating the latter. In addition to being a former UFC light heavyweight champion, Belfort is a former Cage Rage world light heavyweight champion.
“The Phenom” was supposed to fight Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 124 for his retirement bout, but it was scrapped as his opponent had to pull out for medical reasons. On May 12, he will step inside the cage for the last time to face countryman and fellow former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. In a lengthy message to fans on his Instagram in February, he reaffirmed his stand against trash-talking and was all respect to his opponent and friend, Machida.
Fellow fight fans, here is Vitor Belfort by the numbers:
12: Seconds was all he needed to knock out a much taller and heavier Jon Hess in an event called SuperBrawl 2 in Hawaii. It was the Brazilian’s first sanctioned MMA match and first fight on American soil. Surely, it was a sign of things to come because a few months later, he became the youngest fighter to tally a win inside the UFC Octagon at 19 years and ten months, a record that would stand until Sage Northcutt’s debut nearly two decades later.
4: Wins by knockout to start his professional career. After Hess, he defeated Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo in one night to take the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament. At UFC 13, he beat UFC 6 runner-up Tank Abbott. All matches ended early in the first round.
7: Significant strikes to the head, and Wanderlei Silva was done. At UFC 17.5, he bombarded “The Axe Murderer” with punches to finish the fight in 44 seconds, also in Round 1. After this match, Belfort left the UFC to fight in Pride Fighting Championship, losing to Kazushi Sakuraba in his promotional debut. (ref: http://www.espn.com/mma/fight/statistics/_/fightId/153012)
0: Punches thrown when he defeated one of his training partners, Joe Charles, by way of an armbar at UFC Japan on December 21, 1997.
14: Total number of stoppages in the UFC, tying Belfort with Anderson Silva and Donald Cerrone for most in the promotion's history. Save for his most recent fight with Nate Marquardt, all his UFC wins came by finish, 13 of them by knockout. One of his most spectacular KOs was a spinning heel kick followed by punches on Luke Rockhold.
5: Knockout of the Night bonuses. The fearsome striker has made a career out of knocking people unconscious. In fact, he ranks second all-time for the most Knockout of the Night bonuses, and probably always will: beginning at UFC Fight Night 36, Knockout and Submission of the Night were no longer awarded, as they were replaced with Performance of the Night.
3: Fellow Brazilians fought in his professional career. Belfort has a win over Wanderlei Silva and losses to Anderson Silva and Jacare Souza. UFC 224 marks only the fourth time he will be facing a fellow Brazilian professionally.
41: Years of age. Belfort was born on April 1, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is happy to fight for the last time in his home country.