Despite being in trouble early, Weidman recovered to ground and pound out Belfort at 2:53 of the first round.
“He hit me with some good shots, but I’ve been there in sparring,” Weidman said. “Stop doubting me. That’s enough. Stop doubting me. Better join the team now. This is my last invitation.”
Belfort struck first, unloading a flurry of punches and landing several as Weidman covered up against the cage. Once the two separated, a cut was revealed over Weidman’s left eye.
The momentum almost immediately shifted when Weidman shot in and scored a takedown. He worked from half guard, hitting Belfort with strikes from that position. Weidman then advanced to full mount and dropped a number of strikes while Belfort covered up.
Trying to improve his position, Belfort instead gave up his back and Weidman continued to drop hard shots. He covered up one last time before the referee stepped in to put a stop to the contest.
Belfort admitted after the fight that he wanted to prevent it from going to the ground.
“I knew he wanted to fight on the ground. I was trying to avoid it, but it was a better night for him,” Belfort said.
With the win in Vegas, Weidman improves his undefeated record to 13-0 and awaits the next challenger to his middleweight title in a competitive division.