Big winners from UFC 103
With a resounding victory Saturday over longtime UFC headliner Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort answered any remaining questions about his ability to succeed in the current UFC landscape.
But it wasn't the "old Vitor", as so many people are fond of saying. That version of Belfort would have jumped in swinging and immediately gone for the kill, risking it all for one wild shot at finishing the fight in spectacular fashion.
No, this was a very different Vitor, a "new Vitor."
It's been publicized that Belfort began training in Machida Karate prior to the UFC 103 bout, and you can see touches of Machida's style all over Belfort here. From the simple, unmoving karate stance to the patience that allows you to wait for an opening before striking, Belfort's style had Lyoto Machida written all over it. And that's a very dangerous thing for the rest of the middleweight division.
Dana White told us at the post-fight press conference that Belfort would receieve the next title shot at Anderson Silva. This is the fight White has been longing to make for months, ever since going on Spike television and talking about Belfort while the Brazilian was still under Affliction. Any type of win from Belfort over Franklin would earn him a title shot; luckily it was an emphatic one.
Can Belfort beat Silva? It's tough to say. Silva is still the best in the world, but Belfort has the tools to end the "Spider's" championship reign, and he'll get his chance in early 2010.
Lightweight division interesting again
Tyson Griffin's stunning finish of Hermes Franca created a logjam at the top of the UFC lightweight division.
downlevel descriptionThis video requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download a free version of the player.
Griffin has always been considered a good fighter, but his knack for forcing fights to go the distance has kept him out of consideration for a title shot. With the victory over Franca, a fighter who had only been finished once in his entire career (at a Shooto event in 2005), Griffin elevated himself into the upper echelon of the division.
The only problem? Gray Maynard and Griffin are teammates, and Maynard is also in consideration for a title shot.
The difference in this situation is that, unlike many other teammates in the sport, Griffin will fight Maynard. He says it's not an ideal situation and would prefer not to, but if the matchup has to be made and there's no way around it, then he'll gladly do it.
Dana White was thrilled about this prospect. And since champion B.J. Penn isn't fighting until December, there's potential for a Maynard-Griffin bout to be made near the end of the year. Not only would it determine the No. 1 challenger for the title, but it would also send a simple message to fight camps around the world: If Maynard and Griffin can fight each other for a title shot, so can you.
Dos Santos is a force
Going into UFC 103, it was apparent that Junior Dos Santos was an unknown commodity in the UFC's heavyweight division. A devastating puncher with blazing hand speed, Dos Santos had finished his prior two opponents too quickly for observers to get a real grasp on his game.
Read more at...
For more MMA news and features, check out InsideFights.com.