The 40-year-old former champion is a legend in the sport and has fought in the UFC’s heavyweight and middleweight divisions for 20 years, but Vitor hasn’t won a bout since he defeated Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 77 in November 2015. Recently, Belfort has not been able to break a bad streak and lost four of his last five fights inside the Octagon. After a first-round technical knockout loss across Kelvin Gastelum at Fight Night 106, Vitor announced to the promotion that he wanted to end his career at home, in Rio de Janeiro. The second fight against Anderson Silva was rumored for his exit, but the “Spider” didn’t like the idea of an all-Brazilian battle in front of their countrymen.
The veteran’s final fight will be against Nate Marquardt, an experienced mix martial artist whose fought for the UFC, PRIDE, Strikeforce, Affliction and Cage Rage. The 38-year-old power puncher hasn’t been doing very good also, and Nate’s coming off a terrible decision defeat challenging Sam Alvey at UFC on FOX 23, Bloody Elbow reported. Marquardt is trying to avoid back-to-back losses, or it could be the end of his UFC career as well — even though “The Phenom” will have the support of his people, It won’t be an easy fight Saturday night. The old school middleweight showdown between Belfort and Marquardt is set to take place at UFC 212; the pay-per-view event will be held at the Jeunesse Arena on June 3.
It Has Been A Bitter End With The UFC But Not With MMA
For the last fight in his contract, Vitor moved his training camp up north to Quebec, Canada, according to MMA Junkie, and he’s going be working with the Tristar team. While there, Vitor will have the guidance of head coach Firas Zahabi; the instructor is most known for helping former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
“The UFC is a show, not a sport, but I’ll continue competing. Fight is my passion,” Vitor told Veja Rio.
“Too bad that MMA hasn’t become a serious sport yet. Maybe I’ll help change this scenario. I think it’s my time to finish my chapter in this as a professional fighter…I think that my body is not the same to train – a lot of pain. It’s over 14 surgeries that I’ve done. I think I’ve left everything inside the Octagon.”
They’ve Had Many Ups And Downs
Belfort made his first MMA certified appearance in 1996 and later entered the UFC for the first time when he was only 19 years old. Soon after that, Vitor won the light heavyweight title by defeating Randy Couture at UFC 46. “The Phenom” also has impressive victories over “Tank” Abbott, Heath Herring, Matt Lindland, Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping, Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold — most of the wins came by surprising knockout kicks to the head. Later in his career, while competing for the 205-pound belt at UFC 152, Vitor came up short by submission to Jon Jones and continued to lose most of his fights. With a recent 1-3 record, Belfort has racked up defeats against Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, and most lately a controversial defeat battling Gegard Mousasi.
Marquardt is a well-rounded fighter that has power in both hands with a good ground game. He started MMA in 1999 and has a decent overall record. Nate gained the Strikeforce welterweight title and scored the Pancrase belt more than once. Marquardt has won most of his fights in the 185-pound division with 16 professional submissions. At UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015, he knockout C.B. Dollaway 28 seconds into the second round. But lately, the 38-year-old hasn’t been consistent inside the octagon. He has lost five of six fights to Tarec Saffiedine, Jake Ellenberger, Hector Lombard, Brad Tavares, and Gastelum. Nate is approaching the end of his career and desperately needs a win at UFC 212.
Vitor Belfort and Nate Marquardt still have a lot of fight left in them, so it should be an exciting bout. Who do you think will win?
[Featured Image by Chris Trotman/Getty Images]