One of MMA’s all-time greatest finishers fought their final battle this past Saturday. In the main card opener, “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort took on Lyoto Machida in a clash of Brazilian former UFC light heavyweight champions.
Machida was the one to walk away with the spectacular knockout victory thus spoiling what would be Belfort’s retirement party after a lengthy 22-year long career.
Although Combate has recently reported that Belfort was not in the best physical shape heading into his final bout and was even suggested to pull out of the fight.
Belfort reportedly suffered an injury to his left knee which prevented him from doing a majority of his training.
It happened at the start of training camp in a sparring session where Belfort kicked and outstretched his knee. Tests showed that he had suffered a grade II lesion in his left medial ligament.
The 41-year old former UFC champ was consulted by three different doctors and still ended up taking the fight despite not being able to kick and do ground workouts properly throughout his camp.
Surprisingly, the meeting between Belfort and Machida at UFC 224 was the first time the two had ever fought each other in their storied careers.
In Belfort’s 41 fight MMA career, he achieved many successes with 21 of his 26 victories coming by way of finish(18 knockouts, 3 submissions). Some of the names on his resume include the likes of Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson(x2), Anthony Johnson, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Wanderlei Silva, Matt Lindland, Randy Couture and Tank Abbott.
That list of names includes four former UFC champions, two former Pride champions, a former Strikeforce champion and a former King of Pancrase. To say Belfort didn’t have a phenomenally entertaining career would be an understatement.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2018