The UFC has defined their May 18th event, UFC on FX 8 to be held in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. The main event features the first UFC appearance of former STRIKEFORCE Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold, who tangles with long time UFC star Vitor Belfort. The line isn’t out everywhere yet, but some of the sports books have this as a pick ‘em fight at -115 for both men.
As the UFC has ramped up their presence in Brazil, they have been tapping more and more of that country’s talent. The cards in Brazil are usually filled with Brazilians, and it has been a tough going for the foreigners to break through and win in Brazil. So Rockhold will be giving Belfort the ‘home field’ advantage.
Rockhold is tailor made to beat Belfort. Rockhold has gone 5 rounds in two of his last three fights, and the key to beating Belfort has always been to take him deep into a fight.
Rockhold is obviously going to have to avoid a distance boxing game with Belfort, who will be dangerous early with his fast hands and power. Rockhold owns improving standup, but he cannot fall in love with it and try to face off Belfort. In the stand up, Rockhold needs to close the gap and press Belfort against the fence. If he can get him down and rough him up, he will do that. If he has trouble with the takedown, a fight in the clinches is where Rockhold needs to be.
Belfort has matured in this, the latter part of his career. He has never really used submissions in his long MMA career, but has to be considered dangerous with them. In the Jones fight, he once again flashed a finish in the opening round and faded afterwards. But his fade was not so defined as in the past, and he managed his energy very well in a losing effort.
And Belfort was still calling out Jon Jones – he has title belt on his mind – one more run before his career is over. It is difficult to say how Belfort will internalize that pressure.
Below is the rest of the card. as you can see it is loaded with Brazilian talent. More on the UFC on FX 8 card to come.
UFC on FX 8 – Complete Card (Subject To Change):
- Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold
- Constantinos Philippou vs. Ronaldo Souza
- CB Dollaway vs. Cezar Ferreira
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham
- Hacran Dias vs. Manvel Gamburyan
- Mike Rio vs. Francisco Trinaldo
- Yuri Alcantara vs. Marcos Vinícius
- Lance Benoist vs. Paulo Thiago
- Azamat Gashimov vs. John Lineker
- Roger Hollet vs. Fabio Maldonado
- John Cholish vs. Gleison Tibau
- Chris Cariaso vs. Jussier Formiga
- Jeremy Larsen vs. Lucas Martins