’s UFC 133 Fighter of the Night: Vitor Belfort

August 8, 2011
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Vitor Belfort at Affliction
Vitor Belfort

Vitor Belfort took Yoshihiro Akiyama to school at UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz, knocking out the Japanese judoka in the first round of their fight and earning himself the Fighter of the Night award.

Of course, Belfort also earned the UFC 133 Knockout of the Night bonus amounting to $70,000 on top of his fight purse and win bonus, but his quick finish and performance following his outing previous to UFC 133 makes it pretty clear he was the MVP of the entire card.

When “The Phenom” stepped into the Octagon to face middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort, many touted the challenger to be the one fighter most capable of matching Silva in a standing fight. Vitor’s legendary quick hands had taken out the likes of Rich Franklin, a young Wanderlei Silva, and a long list of others through a career lasting 15 years. It was only reasonable to suspect that those same hands would give the UFC middleweight champion trouble when the two finally met in February, earlier this year.

Nope, not so much.

Silva threw a front kick – a technique, allegedly, taught by actor Steven Seagal – and it landed on Belfort’s chin, leading to an eventual first-round stoppage and another win for the “The Spider.”

After being on the wrong side of a highlight reel knockout, such as the one he experienced at UFC 126, the pressure was on for Belfort to shine bright against Akiyama and prove he could get back on track with a decisive win.

Decisive might be an understatement because just after Belfort landed the knockout blow, his opponent was unconscious and flat on his face as though he was planking in the middle of the Octagon.

The Fighter of the Night feels that no one can match his strength at middleweight and he eagerly wants another shot at the belt.

“I think, in this weight division, there’s nobody stronger than me,” Belfort said shortly after his UFC 133 knockout win.

“I want the winner of Anderson (Silva) and (Yushin) Okami.”

Although UFC president Dana Whtie explained that Vitor has to do a little bit more work before he gets a second shot at the middleweight strap, it’s clear that if he continues laying out opponents the way he did Yoshihiro Akiyama, he’ll get his shot soon enough.

For now, he’ll walk away with an extra $70,000 for Knockout of the Night and bragging rights for being’s Fighter of the Night.

Applause, everyone.

Honorable Mention: Rashad Evans

Ring rust? What’s that?

If you ask Rashad Evans those questions, he probably won’t be able to tell you from experience, only that people speculated he’d suffer from it leading into his UFC 133 main event with Tito Ortiz.

A ripped and in-shape Evans walked into the Octagon Saturday night in Philadelphia and quickly put to rest any thought of him having trouble readjusting to fighting after a 14-month layoff. In an impressive performance, Evans took Ortiz to task and pressured the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” for nearly two full rounds before the fight was stopped due to a technical knockout.

At one point in the fight, Evans even picked up Ortiz, put him over his shoulder and slammed him onto the mat as if to say, “ring rust this, son!”

It was as though Evans took no time off and had been fighting regularly for the 14 months between his last bout with “Rampage” Jackson and his UFC 133 match with Ortiz. Obviously, continuing to train when healthy and focusing on staying in shape paid off for Evans. In addition, his performance against Ortiz on Saturday looked worlds better than the first time they met at UFC 73 in 2007 where the two fought to a draw.

That didn’t happen this time and Evans made sure of it. Bravo for getting it done the second time around. Fighter of the Night Honorable Mention goes to “Suga” Rashad Evans for proving ring rust is just a myth.

Worth a Mention: Dennis Hallman’s Speedo

Yup, he wore one at UFC 133… That is all.

Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.

Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for
@Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik a question or comment.

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  • j-k-martin

    When Belfort is on he is a human highlight real, I hope he can stay in the zone and put a run together, but he needs to make some changes. Oh and by the way, I can’t unsee that speedo. *shudder*

  • wonggfan

    That wasn’t a speedo. That was a bikini bottom. WWE guys wear speedos.

    good for vitor…yeah..he is MMAweekly’s fighter of the night…does MMAweekly pay Vitor now????


    • No, we are not groupies, but you, sir, are hilarious.

      Thanks for reading.

      -Erik Fontanez

  • Unador

    VItor isn’t the fighter of the night no more than the Evans Ortiz fight was fight of the night. I wish they would get off of this VItor craze. He certainly does not deserve another shot at the title until after a few more W’s are under his belt from the rest of the contenders. He needs to fight Stann before a title shot for sure. Shields too!

    I vote for Ebersol to be fighter of the night. He dispatched the bikini guy in the first round yes…
    but more importantly he had a 80 fight veteral with 66 wins all over his back with excellent bjj nearly getting the choke, before turning around in his guard and posturing up with barely 1:15 left in the round and getting the FINISH.
    Now that may not be fight of the night, but it showed superior composure, experience, and skill.
    Fight of the night should have went to one of the fights that went the distance. Poppolu comes to mind. Not familiar with him or his name.

  • Unador


    You know, it might have been unnecessary to call those of you that work at mmaweely ‘groupies’ for making Vitor fighter of the night, but in retrospect, it may have been a better alternative to freely admit to it, then to deny it, and force me to realize that mmaweekly independently concluded that Vitor was ‘fighter of the night’.
    To be a ‘groupie’ shows bias.
    To not be a ‘groupie’ shows something worse.

    and can I get a runnerup for the longest runon sentence? with an honorable mention for worst grammer and spelling?

  • sirreadsalot10

    Vitor is awesome, but I watched the replay several times and can’t find the punch that initially sent Akiyama down. It looks like Vitor’s punches miss, and then Akiyama squats and falls over. What the hell?

  • Unador

    Akiyama ducked his head down but was far to slow to avoid all of Belfort’s speed. Vitor inadvertently punched Akiyama in the top of the head with a left crss, more towards the back than the front. That kind of shot I’m sure dazed the heck out of Akiyama. Akiyama took a seat and reached for a leg, and as Vitor pushed him back Akiyama turned his back a bit as Vitor snuck a shot in similar to the one Hendo put Fedor out with.
    A kind of uppercut from the back and side. Pow, right on the chin. Lights out.
    The rest of the punches from Vitor were hitting an opponent already unconscience. Tho Vitor’s hand speed is so fast it was through no fault of his own