Jones vs. Belfort Results: What Went Wrong for Vitor
Physically and mentally, "The Phenom" never seemed ready to challenge the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, despite nearly submitting Jones early in the first round.
Jones, who could be considered the new phenom, simply made Belfort look pedestrian at best.
Whether on his feet or off his back, the 35-year-old was unable to successfully attack Jones or preserve his own well being.
Here's what went terribly wrong for Belfort and why Jones looked as dominant as ever.
Jon Jones is easily the most physically talented fighter in the world.
His height, power, reach, speed and technique all culminate into the most dangerous arsenal ever seen in the UFC.
Opponents rarely get an opportunity to land significant strikes against Jones, so it should come as no surprise that a smaller Vitor Belfort struggled to inflict damage on a round-by-round basis.
The bottom line is that Belfort was at a physical disadvantage from the first second he signed the dotted line.
Jones is such a smart fighter that he's never going to give up his reach and let an established striker like Belfort get his licks.
It was a tough fight for the elder former champion, but you can't discredit his efforts based on natural aspects.
Besides a few good head kicks, Vitor Belfort looked completely one-dimensional Saturday night against Jon Jones.
Whether it was his age or the fact that he was fighting at a heavier weight class than usual, Belfort's speed really didn't play a major role in the fight.
Jones was able to block nearly every strike "The Phenom" threw, including his infamous flurry of punches.
For Belfort, a guy who makes his money by landing leather on fighter's faces, being unable to disrupt Jones had to be considerably frustrating.
Nobody truly thought Belfort would KO Jones, but a few more significant strikes were certainly expected.
It's never a good idea to pull guard against a physically superior opponent like Jon Jones.
Let alone against the man himself.
For some reason Vitor Belfort pulled guard on numerous occasions Saturday night, giving Jones valuable time to land sharp elbows.
Fighting off his back may have been part of Belfort's game plan, but it was more likely a product of Jones' ability to successfully land dynamic strikes.
Ability to Finish
The best chance for Vitor Belfort to defeat Jon Jones at UFC 152 came in the first round.
Belfort had Jones locked up in a nasty armbar. It was the first time Jones was caught in such a precarious position, but the champion was able to slam Belfort a few times on his head and wiggle his arm free.
The missed opportunity to submit Jones came with much despair.
It not only left Belfort gassed for the next two rounds, but it left him mentally demoralized.
"The Phenom" has never been ridiculed in the past for being unable to finish fights, but it definitely cost him this time around.
For some fighters, age is just a number. Randy Couture is a true testament to that statement.
For other fighters, age is the quintessential line between staying relevant and shifting into retirement.
It has yet to be seen which type of fighter Vitor Belfort is at 35 years of age, but fans are going to know the answer to that question very soon.
Belfort wasn't fighting Anthony Johnson on Saturday night at UFC 152, he was trying to dethrone the best fighter in the world in Jon Jones.
Many people didn't even give Belfort a puncher's chance, and for good reason. He looked relatively slow as a light heavyweight and seemed depleted in the later rounds of the bout.
At his age, Belfort needs to make a difficult decision. Is he going to be able to rebound from this loss and someday produce a rematch against Jones or Anderson Silva?
Or is he going to realize he's part of the old breed of fighters who simply don't possess the all-around skill set to make a successful title run?
We'll find out soon enough.
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