UFC 126 Results: Is Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort MMA's Ricky Martin?

Nick ColonSenior Analyst IFebruary 5, 2011

Belfort's devastating TKO over Rich "Ace" Franklin at UFC 103
Belfort's devastating TKO over Rich "Ace" Franklin at UFC 103Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

At one time, Vitor Belfort, like Ricky Martin was on top of the world.  

When he first debuted in the UFC at UFC 12, Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort was a hungry 19-year-old who took out Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo in a combined two minutes. He then proceeded to follow it up with an impressive 52-second knockout over UFC legend David "Tank"" Abbott at UFC 13, before succumbing to his first loss at the hands of another UFC legend and Hall of Fame member, Randy Couture.

Belfort, who holds a Black Belt in both, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a Blue Belt in Shotokan, was known primarily for his brutal, striker mentality during his time in the UFC.  He tore apart foes readily and is a part of many early UFC Knockout highlight reels. Simply put, Belfort dominated his opponents.

But then, again like Martin, he fell off the top off the world.

Belfort had a brief stint of success against opponents such as Wanderlei Silva, Gilbert Yvel and Heath Herring before losing to other legends like Chuck Liddell, Couture (for a second time), Tito Ortiz, Dan Henderson and twice to Alistair Overeem. Belfort, during this time, was criticized for steroid usage, from which he served a nine-month suspension and was fined $10,000. He also left Carlson Gracie's fighting camp and found himself journeying to camps such as Brazilian Top Team and Chute Boxe in Brazil.

However, somewhat unlike Martin, Belfort has regained his momentum that he once had as the hungry 19-year-old and has been on the winning side in six of his last seven fights, with his last blemish coming via decision to former Pride Welterweight and Middleweight champion Dan Henderson in 2006.  It was since then Belfort has won five in a row. 

He has also regained some of his hype surrounding his KO power, assuring fans by his first round TKO over always formidable Rich Franklin. Belfort is officially ready heading into his fight tonight with Anderson "The Spider" Silva.

If the weigh-ins were any sign of the fight to come tonight, fans can expect nothing but the best from "The Phenom."