3 Questions We Have About Vitor Belfort Before He Faces Jon Jones
Vitor Belfort quite literally fell into the opportunity of a lifetime tonight at UFC 152.
To put his predicament in perspective, just three months ago he was scheduled to face Wanderlei Silva, a hugely popular but definitely past-his-prime middleweight. Now, thanks to the fallout from UFC 151, Belfort is gifted a chance at light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones.
This fight will be Belfort's first at 205 pounds since 2007, and it will also mark what is arguably the toughest test of his career. For that, there are plenty of questions looming for the Brazilian as he enters the contest.
Start the slideshow to check out the three biggest questions we have about Vitor heading in to his light heavyweight title bout.
How Will He Handle Jones' Size?
Vitor Belfort is a big, muscular dude, but overall size will be Jones' advantage tonight inside the Octagon.
Maybe Belfort can bench press more than Jones, but where practical fighting size is concerned, Belfort's 74-inch reach and six-foot stature are causes for concern.
Can Belfort get inside Jones' reach and tee off, or will he fall victim to the distance-striking game like every other title challenger to date? Getting inside the reach of Jones is a tricky puzzle to solve, and we have seen some of the division's best strikers try and fail time and time again.
Will Belfort be able to handle the size discrepancy and set himself up for victory? This is the biggest question going into tonight's bout, and if he cannot find a solution to Jones' range, he will lose this fight.
How Is His Bottom Game?
Two things in life are certain: Life cereal is the most underrated cereal, and Jon Jones will put you on your back inside the Octagon.
Jones' wrestling is the best of any light heavyweight in the world, and the way he uses his leverage to trip, throw and toss opponents is a thing of beauty.
With solid wrestling, but nothing on the level of Jones', Belfort has a tall order ahead if he wishes to keep this fight standing. The one thing he has going for him is Jones' confidence—the champion will not be afraid to fight on the feet, so he may very well keep the fight standing on purpose for the first round or two.
Once he decides to utilize his wrestling, though, Belfort is going on his back, and he will stay there until Jones lets him up or the round ends.
Belfort, a 2001 Bronze medalist at the Abu Dhabi World Championship, obviously has a nice jiu-jitsu game, but we rarely see him on the bottom in his fights, so what can we expect?
Jones is not the guy you want to have on top of you, so Belfort will need to be absolutely perfect off his back if he wishes to even escape to stand up, let alone submit "Bones."
For Belfort, success from his back will be vital to his well-being tonight inside the Octagon.
Is He in over His Head?
We can hype this fight all day and talk about how Vitor Belfort has a chance against Jon Jones, but let us look at the facts.
Since arriving in the UFC for his second stint with the promotion in 2009, Belfort has knocked out Rich Franklin and Yoshihiro Akiyama and submitted a bloated and out of shape Anthony Johnson.
Between the Franklin and Akiyama fight, he tried to eat middleweight champion Anderson Silva's foot, a "feat" that did not work out too well for him.
Now, he is fighting somebody who is arguably even better than Silva—he is younger, he is bigger and he has the ability to dictate where a fight takes place, and this makes him a scary foe indeed.
I do not want to diminish Belfort's skills, but I simply fail to see how he has anything more than a puncher's chance in this fight. Is he in fact over his head, or am I not giving him enough credit? Did he deserve this fight in the first place?
Time will tell, but don't expect Bruce Buffer to be announcing a new light heavyweight champion anytime soon.