The UFC on FX 8 event airs this Saturday from Brazil, and as is traditional, Friday was weigh in day. Over the years, the UFC under Zuffa has put a lot into the production of the weigh ins, turning them into a very polished online feed and a must attend event for people attending live. This has taken a little of the tension out of the weigh in process, as contact is limited and the production has become very cut and dry. The weigh ins remain must see TV because trouble making weight and signs of fatigue could indicate a harsh weight cut. The there are weigh ins with Nick Diaz, or like happened this afternoon in Brazil between main eventers Vitor Belfort and Luke Rockhold.
Well, it wasn’t that big a deal, as Rockhold got real close to Belfort, who reacted. The pair were quickly separated but it is clear there is a lot of emotion on both parts heading into the fight.
Rockhold seemed very focused and collected, and he has been talking about not liking Belfort now since he landed in Brazil. He has used everything from Vitor’s TRT exemption to Vitor’s fist coming to close to his face at a photo op to get himself worked up over the fight. But will it work?
This is a pick ‘em fight at the sport books, and it is a very difficult fight to pick. Now at the last minute, I have a tendency to lean towards Belfort on this one.
Belfort is going to have a very emotional crowd behind him, and Belfort is a guy who has always reacted to the fan appreciation. By putting on a display of in your face at the weigh ins, Rockhold really sealed the bond between the fans and Belfort for this fight.
One of the pre fight shows on the internet featuring Daniel Cormier and Chael Sonnen had a lot of talk about how Rockhold was molding himself into an aggressive striker who has been finishing fights on his feet. If that is the case, and Rockhold chooses to try to box Belfort, it could end poorly. Rockhold is commonly thought to hold the gas advantage and to be benefiting from a long 5 round fight, however he cedes some of that advantage back to Belfort if wants to box with Vitor, since 25 minutes is a long time to not get hit just once.
If Rockhold channels his energy correctly, he can win a George St Pierre type of fight where he controls and frustrates Belfort. If he chooses to box, he may do some initial damage but he will also be vunerable to Belfort’s quick, pinpoint hands.
Whatever happens, we find out Saturday!