UFC Fight Night 32 went down Saturday night from Brazil. The main event pitted hometown favorite Vitor Belfort against fellow light heavyweight Dan Henderson.
At 36 and 43 years old, respectively, Belfort and Henderson are both defying the odds by even fighting professionally in a cage, much less at an elite level. (Many observers are quick to point out that both men are getting help on that front by receiving testosterone-replacement therapy exemptions.)
In any case, entering Saturday's main event, Belfort was the winner of two in a row, most recently by head-kick knockout in May against the younger, buzzier Luke Rockhold, in a bout that also took place in Brazil. Henderson, meanwhile, was a loser of two straight, both lackluster decisions to Lyoto Machida and then to Rashad Evans.
It didn't take long for the two men to hash out the trend lines Saturday night. Belfort needed only 77 seconds to send Henderson to his first-ever knockout loss in professional MMA.
The end began when Henderson charged forward in an attempt to land one of his notoriously heavy "H-bomb" right hands. But Belfort was ready, landing a pinpoint counter left uppercut so powerful it physically lifted the former Olympic wrestler off his feet, as if it were Popeye delivering the decisive blow to a hapless Bluto.
Henderson got to his feet, but was felled again by a head kick—the weapon rapidly becoming Belfort's signature attack in this latest UFC run. A few ground strikes later and the referee had seen enough.
UFC President Dana White indicated at the post-fight press conference (h/t Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting) that Belfort (24-10) would probably receive a shot at the UFC middleweight title following the much-anticipated rematch between Anderson Silva and new champ Chris Weidman, set for UFC 168 in late December.
The future is less certain for Henderson (29-11), a former dual-division champion in the Pride promotion and a sure-fire Hall of Famer, who will probably face questions now about his future in the sport.
In the meantime, here are some video highlights of Belfort's handiwork in Saturday's main event, courtesy of Fox Sports.