Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort: What We Learned from UFC 187 Title Fight

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2015

USA Today

Since his disposal of Anderson Silva twice, Long Island's own Chris Weidman has been on a mission to prove he is the real deal.

With a victory over former UFC light heavyweight kingpin Lyoto Machida back at UFC 175, the undefeated titleholder was on the right track to validating his current worth in the sport.

But with a decisive beatdown of Vitor Belfort at UFC 187, The All-American has finally capped off an illustrious run through Brazil's murderer's row.

Needless to say, Weidman has cemented himself as a pound-for-pound favorite and a champion who will carry a formerly stagnant division to greener pastures.

Here is what we learned Saturday from his middleweight tilt with The Phenom:

 

What We'll Remember About This Fight

There really wasn't anything that happened that we didn't expect to happen.

John Locher/Associated Press

Belfort was certainly more tentative than usual in the first few breaths of the opening round, but it was Weidman's resilience on the feet and elite ground-and-pound that culminated into a first-round TKO.

A cut above the champ's left eye is evidence that Belfort's flurries provided success, but it simply wasn't enough to ward off Weidman.

The fact that the 38-year-old Brazilian essentially gave up his back after being taken down could suggest a significant energy dump after going after it on his feet.

 

What We Learned About Weidman

Weidman's wrestling once again reigned supreme.

John Locher/Associated Press

But it was his patient striking and willingness to absorb damage to tire Belfort out that truly lent a hand in allowing him to secure an easy takedown.

Once there, his powerful ground-and-pound took over and allowed him to punish Belfort until the fight was stopped.

It was yet another fight in which Weidman's superb athleticism and overpowering frame commanded the spotlight.

 

What We Learned About Belfort

Belfort was able to land a few good shots on the feet but it wasn't enough.

John Locher/Associated Press

His inability to significantly hurt Weidman during those flurries essentially tired him out and allowed him to be taken down so easily.

It can be said that Belfort's recent body changes led to him tiring so easily, but it's more likely that Weidman's powerful ground game subdued his efforts.

There's not much that Belfort did besides his usual punches in bunches.

 

What's Next for Weidman

Luke Rockhold. That's who's next.

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 18:  Luke Rockhold prepares to fight against Lyoto Machida of Brazil in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Prudential Center on April 18, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Besides arguably Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, there's nobody else in the UFC middleweight division deserving enough of a chance to dethrone Weidman.

On paper, Rockhold's size could cause issues for the champ, but we haven't seen anything yet inside of the Octagon to suggest that Weidman would be overwhelmed by anything.

Pending victory, Weidman would be back to his old tricks by trying to out yet another Brazilian top contender.

 

What's Next for Belfort

Apr 24, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Rampage Jackson stands on the scale during weigh-ins for UFC 186 at Metropolis. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

While Belfort's aging athleticism may not be there, his ability to sell and promote a fight still is.

In other words, retirement should not be a word associated with the legend at this time.

With hands for days and the ability to knock out almost anyone in the division, he'd be a perfect opponent for any middleweight willing to stand and bang.

Although, a move up to 205 to fight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson would be quite the spectacle.

 

For more UFC 187 coverage, follow @DHiergesell.