Vitor Belfort stopped Michael Bisping with a head kick and follow-up punches. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Michael Bisping was one win away from a shot at Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva. Vitor Belfort erased those hopes with his left shin.
Belfort dispatched “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner with a beautiful head kick and follow-up hammerfists in the second round of their UFC on FX 7 headliner on Saturday at the Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bisping (23-5, 13-5 UFC) succumbed to the blows 87 seconds into round two, finished for just the second-time in his 28-fight professional career.
Afterward, Belfort (22-10, 11-6 UFC) targeted Chael Sonnen in a brief verbal tirade and tried to position himself for a rematch with 205-pound champion Jon Jones.
“I worked so hard. I want to get the belt,” he said. “Get that punk Chael Sonnen out. Let me fight Jon Jones. I need that rematch. Get that clown away. You did a reality show. Go home, and let me fight the champion. It will be champion against a champion, not that clown.”
Bisping was the more active of the two middleweights and did some solid work with his jab and leg kicks. However, near the end of the first round, Belfort drilled him with a left high kick and swarmed with punches. Bisping survived, but it was a harbinger of what was to come. A little more than a minute into round two, Belfort struck again with a stealthy head kick. This time, Bisping was not as fortunate. The strike floored the Brit, and “The Phenom” pounced with hammerfists, bringing a decisive close to their encounter.
“I have no excuses,” Bisping said. “I had a fantastic training camp, and I felt very confident that I was going to win this fight. It was a beautiful kick. He caught me, and he was a better man than me tonight. You win some, you lose some. I am not going away. Trust me, I’ll be back at the top of this pile before you [expletive] know it.”
Dollaway Spoils Sarafian Debut
Power MMA Team export C.B. Dollaway took a split decision from “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 alum Daniel Sarafian in the middleweight co-main event. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Dollaway (13-4, 7-4 UFC).
The first half of the bout belonged to Sarafian (7-3, 0-1 UFC), as he tagged Dollaway repeatedly with power punches, one of which floored the Arizonan midway through round one. Dollaway recovered, steadied himself and kept his nose in the fight.
The tide turned late in the second frame, when the 29-year-old clipped the oncoming Sarafian with a ringing uppercut. Badly hurt, the Brazilian collapsed on all fours, with Dollaway wailing on him with heavy blows in the closing seconds. Only the bell prevented a stoppage.
An NCAA All-American wrestler, Dollaway mixed in takedowns in the third round, twice mounting the fatigued Brazilian. To his credit, Sarafian answered, as he swept into top position, transitioned to the American’s back and fished for the rear-naked choke. Dollaway defended flawlessly and ultimately willed his way back into a dominant position.
“Daniel was a lot tougher than I had anticipated,” Dollaway said. “His wrestling was really good. He stopped my takedowns pretty easily. That surprised me, so hat’s off to him. I had to dig deep. He is a tough competitor.”
Gonzaga Guillotine Submits Rothwell
Former heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga submitted Ben Rothwell with a second-round guillotine choke in a featured heavyweight battle. Rothwell (32-9, 2-3 UFC) conceded defeat 61 seconds into round two, submitted for the first time in nearly eight years.
Gonzaga (14-6, 9-5 UFC) sucked Rothwell into clinches and blasted him with right crosses when they separated. Two of those rights penetrated Rothwell’s defenses less than a minute into the second round, staggering the monstrous Wisconsin native.
Gonzaga closed the distance, snatched a standing guillotine choke and dragged Rothwell to the canvas, where he completed the submission.
The resurgent Gonzaga has finished his last three opponents with chokes.
Undefeated Nurmagomedov Stops Tavares
American Kickboxing Academy representative Khabib Nurmagomedov put away Thiago Tavares with a leaping left uppercut and follow-up ground strikes in the first round of their lightweight showcase. Tavares (17-5-1, 7-5-1 UFC) met his end 1:55 into round one, and it was a brutal one.
The left uppercut sent Tavares to the canvas, with his Russian adversary in hot pursuit. Standing-to-ground punches were first to find their mark. A series of unanswered elbow strikes followed, referee Dan Miragliotta stepping in after more than 10 of them landed to the side of the grounded Tavares’ head.
One of the rising stars in the lightweight division, Nurmagomedov (19-0, 3-0 UFC) has now finished 10 fights inside one round.
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