The UFC on FX 8 headliner represents a strong clash of styles, as former Strikeforce middleweight king Luke Rockhold collides with ex-UFC light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort.
While Rockhold, an excellent all-around athlete, prefers to use his lanky frame and work from range, Belfort has made a career out of blitzing opponents with power punches on the inside. The matchup presents a truly interesting puzzle for fight fans and experts alike, including UFC flyweight contender Ian McCall.
“Vitor and Luke … that’s a good fight. Luke is a really, really good prospect. I actually wouldn’t even call him a prospect anymore. He’s a legitimate champion,” McCall recently told UFC.com in a video interview. “Vitor has been phenomenal forever. Now that he’s rejuvenated, he’s back on point. He kicked [Michael] Bisping’s head into, like, the fourth row, I think.”
Though McCall readily acknowledges the strengths of both men, “Uncle Creepy” is nevertheless uncertain about which man will come out on top when Rockhold meets “The Phenom” on May 18 at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil.
“I want to say Vitor [will win], but I don’t know. Luke is good enough to systematically break him down, I think,” said McCall. “Can Luke deal with the power? Vitor obviously hits and kicks really hard.”
For McCall, the deciding factor in the bout is not based on size, strength or physical skill. According to the former Tachi Palace Fights champion, the UFC on FX 8 headliner will boil down to the mental game.
“I think it’s going to come down to where Vitor is at, really, because we know where Luke is at,” said McCall. “[Rockhold] has his act together, whereas Vitor is kind of like me. He bounces around and gets confused and a little bit discouraged, so I think it really comes down to the mental preparation of Vitor.”