GOIANIA, Brazil – He. Did it. AGAIN.
Vitor Belfort, for the third straight time, got a win in Brazil courtesy of a kick to the head, stopping Dan Henderson 77 seconds into their fight. And he just may have kicked his way to another title shot.
The light heavyweight bout, a rematch from a 2006 PRIDE fight that Henderson won by decision, was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 32 event at Goiania Arena in Goiania, Goias, Brazil. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on MMAjunkie.com.
The two stayed patient early with no punches thrown for the first minute of the fight. Finally Henderson moved in with a right hand, pushing Belfort to the fence.
But Belfort landed a left hook to the jaw as Henderson came forward. It took the former Strikeforce champ right off his feet, and Belfort moved in immediately.
On the ground, Belfort quickly swarmed with lefts and rights with Henderson on his back. Henderson tried to recover. But when he got back to his feet, Belfort unleashed a left kick that drilled Henderson flat across the face. The American fell to his back as referee Dan Miragliotta moved in to immediately shut things down.
For the first time in his career, Henderson was stopped by knockout or TKO – his 10 previous losses had been by either submission (three) or decision (seven). And for the third straight time, Belfort had a head kick knockout after similar stoppages of Michael Bisping in January and Luke Rockhold in May.
“Without the support of everyone in my camp, the Blackzilians, and without the support of my wife and kids (I couldn’t have done this). I have to thank them,” Belfort said.
Although the fight was at light heavyweight, Belfort may have earned the next spot in line for the middle weight title, which champion Chris Weidman puts on the line in a rematch against Anderson Silva next month in Las Vegas. Belfort challenged then-champ Silva in 2011 for the title, but lost by, ironically, a kick to the head.
Belfort (24-10 MMA, 13-6 UFC) won for the third straight time and fifth time in six fights. Henderson (29-11 MMA, 6-5 UFC) lost for the third straight time for the first time in his career.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 32 results include:
- Vitor Belfort def. Dan Henderson via TKO (kick, strikes) – Round 1, 1:17
- Cezar Ferreira def. Daniel Sarafian via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-28)
- Rafael Cavalcante def. Igor Pokrajac via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:18
- Brandon Thatch def. Paulo Thiago via submission (strikes) – Round 1, 2:10
- Ryan Laflare def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jeremy Stephens def. Rony Jason via KO (kick, punch) – Round 1, 0:40
- Sam Sicilia def. Godofredo Pepey via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:42
- Omari Akhmedov def. Thiago Perpetuo via KO (punches) – Round 1, 3:31
- Thiago Tavares def. Justin Salas via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:38
- Adriano Martins def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (kimura) – Round 2, 2:49
- Dustin Ortiz def. Jose Maria via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:19
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 32, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Brazil.