It’s not easy to keep a secret during a training camp in the world of mixed martial arts.
From sparring partners to coaches, a fighter can tweak many things to try and keep an edge over his opponent and one key piece to the puzzle that Vitor Belfort added ahead of his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 126 is nutritionist and weight cutting guru Mike Dolce.
The former IFL and UFC fighter has worked with several top athletes and has gained recognition for always bringing in athletes in peak physical condition, while also making weight the day before their fights.
“I have been working with Vitor Belfort in preparation for UFC 126. I’m very humbled and proud to be able to make that statement,” Dolce revealed when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio Monday night.
Some of the biggest questions surrounding Belfort heading into his fight against Silva were about his weight cut. The former heavyweight has only cut down to middleweight a couple of times, and his last fight in the UFC was a catchweight bout against Rich Franklin at 195lbs and most thought the Brazilian struggled to even make that weight.
Dolce was happy to accept the challenge and believes that the work he’s done with Belfort over the last few months will first pay off this Friday when he steps on the scales in Las Vegas.
“It seems like now those are the only guys that really want to bring me in are, those are the guys that are motivated to bring me in, are the ones with the most to lose,” Dolce said. “Vitor he was a heavyweight, he competed a lot at heavyweight, he spent most of his career at light heavyweight, and now he’s dropping down to middleweight and he did some catchweights at 195 before middleweight, just to help the transition just because he was so big and he did have a hard time making weight.
“As it stands right now, he’s ahead of schedule and we can make weight tonight if we needed to. Of course we’re not going to, we’re going to use the extra time to continue the peaking process and make sure we deliver the most prepared Vitor Belfort that the world has ever seen.”
Over the last few years, Dolce has received quite a bit of recognition for the work he’s done with different fighters in and around the sport. Most notably Dolce helped weight cutting problem child Thiago Alves make weight for his last fight, and the American Top Team fighter looked at peak conditioning throughout his three round fight against John Howard at UFC 124 last December.
Dolce also helped one time light heavyweight Michael Bisping make the cut down to middleweight, where he has thrived and is known from having some of the best conditioning in the weight class.
The former Team Quest member admits that for all the great fights and wins Belfort has in his career, he was quick to point out that weight cutting was something he never did the right way before. He will however do it the Dolce way for UFC 126.
“He said this is the first time in his career that he’s cutting weight like a world class athlete, and I took that as a huge compliment,” said Dolce.
Dolce will continue to work with Belfort all the way through weigh-ins and the day of the fight to fuel him and get him ready for the main event at UFC 126 against Anderson Silva.