The UFC 159 card went down this past weekend, and the UFC enters a three week layoff before their next show, May 18th from Brazil. That card, called the UFC on FX 8, features a main event of Vitor Belfort taking on former Strikeforce Champion Luke Rockhold. The main event is a complete tossup at the sports books, as it should be. One book had the lines at Belfort (-112) and Rockhold (-118). The match is compelling not only because it pits a newcomer like Rockhold against a tested veteran like Belfort, but it begins the jockeying for position among the elite in the weight class. A strong case is going to have to be made to earn a shot a Anderson Silva, or Chris Weidman should he win their upcoming bout, and Belfort and Rockhold are both part of a talented and crowded second tier in the division. A win here is critical for both men.
The fight is in Brazil, which makes things interesting. Belfort will enjoy crowd support as every Brazilian has however he has a tendency to create pressure for himself in the build up to a fight, and he will not want to be one of the first Brazilians to lose a main event at home in the UFC.
Rockhold seems to be a professional, and he will likely approach the fight with the correct mindset and not fall into the traps of fighting on the road.
In the octagon, we are about to find out if Rockhold has another level. Though Belfort is known as an fast finisher, he is dangerous throughout the entire length of the fight with his hands. If you look at Belfort’s career, he really has only lost to elite people who were at the peak of their games at the time. Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones. The worst guys he has lost to (this is arbitrary) are Alistair Overeem and Tito Ortiz in his heyday. Is Rockhold that level of athlete? Half the people seem to think so…..