It has been sort of weird in the build up to the main event at UFC On FX 8: Belfort Vs Rockhold, with a convincing win either fighter could find themselves in a title fight. One thing I have noticed is both Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold have been doing very little talking about the fight. It would seem, as far as hype and promotion is concerned, Rockhold is looking to put a stamp on Belfort’s TRT exemption and Belfort is focused on thanking god and convincing people he is in good shape by posting videos of strength and conditioning sessions. Rockhold is the reigning middleweight Strikeforce champion that went undefeated with the promotion. No one would have batted an eye at if they give him a crack at Anderson Silva right out of the gate. Although you can ‘only’ call Belfort a UFC tournament champion, he did come VERY close to ‘de-winging’ the light heavyweight champion Jon Jones with an armbar. The video of him fighting Jones, and him lighting up Michael Bisping should be on a permanent loop in all of the promo videos, but we just aren’t seeing very much promotion.
What does Vitor Belfort have going for him in this fight? Thats the $100,000 question going into Saturday night in Brazil, and its a bigger list than you think it is. The first feather in his camp is obviously the home country advantage, but the octagon experience is one thing you shouldn’t ignore. Belfort has been through the wars, been through an original UFC one night tournament, and there is nothing Rockhold is going to do in the cage that he has never seen before. Keeping that in mind, Rockhold is coming into the fight making his octagon debut, and coming off of an eleven month lay off. Sure, Belfort isn’t the ‘Phenom’ who won UFC 12 anymore, but when you lay it out like this, he has more than just a punchers chance.
Luke Rockhold should be walking into this fight with a lot of confidence, but you have to think a ten month layoff has to play a little on your nerves. Also, If we are to believe the reports, Rockhold is also coming off an injury to his shoulder. Injury or not, this is Rockhold’s fight to win or lose. This is a five round fight, and everyone knows that Belfort falls apart late in fights. All Rockhold really has to do in the first round is not get hit, and remind Belfort that he is in a fight. Rockhold’s footwork is more than good enough to keep from getting sucked into a brawl with Belfort, and later in the fight the punches will add up on Belfort as he slows down.
Rockhold should get the finish in this fight, and I expect it to come from strikes from mount. The road is all laid out for Rockhold, and although its a rough road, all he has to do is follow the map.