On the coming 22nd of September in Canada, Vitor Belfort will be taking a stern test in trying to oust reigning light heavyweight champion of the UFC Jon Jones.
Jones has 16 career wins in MMA and a single loss, albeit one that hardly counts as a blemish, as it came via disqualification for an illegal elbow after thoroughly dominating Matt Hammill in December 2009. Since then, Jones has amassed an impressive string of seven wins, four of which came in defending his title against the likes of Mauricio Shogun, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, all former divisional champions.
The young American with a wrestling background is considered an all-around complete fighter, with all the different cornerstones of MMA (takedowns, striking and grappling) thoroughly mastered, underscored by the eight knockouts and five submissions on his record. Belfort, who will be moving back up to the weight class and had only a few weeks to prepare for the challenge, will have to come up with the perfect strategy to get back what had once been his after an accidental eye injury to Randy Couture in their January 2004 encounter at UFC 46 briefly left the belt in his possession.
A commentator for Brazil’s Combate channel, a Thai boxing master and former MMA fighter, Artur Mariano offers the Phenom a little help in his upcoming endeavor:
“Vitor needs to work the distance and, at the start, not attack. The champion generally waits for the challenger to attack, and Vitor shouldn’t fall for it. He has to let the fight go lukewarm, mess with Jon Jones’s head for him to lose his patience and come after him. When Jones attacks with strikes, holes open up. This is the exact moment when Vitor should use his trademark straight punches and explosiveness,” says Artur, whose perhaps greatest accolade in the ring is having won a fight with Pride FC and UFC star Wanderlei Silva.
“If he attacks at the precise moment, without exposing himself, Belfort will make things tough on Jones. He could even capitalize on the moment to try and take him down and put his Jiu-Jitsu to practice, as that’s something that sets him apart. Once on the ground, he shouldn’t just limit himself to ground and pound, but to going for submissions and control positions. It would be a good opportunity to finish the fight,” adds Artur.
What do you say, GRACIEMAG.com reader, do you agree with Artur? What would you do in Belfort’s shoes?