Vitor Belfort hinted at retirement following his fight against Kelvin Gastelum in March, but has since decided that he’s not going anywhere. “The Phenom” may be 40-years-old, but he’s still ranked No. 11 in the middleweight division. On Saturday, Belfort returned to his native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to take on fellow veteran Nate Marquardt on the main card of UFC 212.
The two former champions showed each other a lot of respect throughout the fight, careful not to make a mistake. Marquardt secured a takedown early in the opening round, but the referee stood them up a minute later due to the lack of offense by Marquardt. Marquardt was the more active fighter while Belfort was looking for that fight-ending opening.
In the second frame, Belfort picked up the pace. He landed a counter uppercut that hurt Marquardt. He flurried, looking for the finish. He had Marquardt backed up against the cage and was unloading shots. Marquardt covered and returned fire. Late in the round, Marquardt landed a right hand that opened up a cut over Belfort’s left eye.
In the final round, Belfort went on the attack in the second half of the frame. He unleashed high kicks and landed a big right hand that forced Marquardt to look for a takedown. After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored the fight for Belfort by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight 29-28.
Despite the unanimous decision victory, Belfort wasn’t happy with his performance on Saturday.
“I wanted to get a knockout. I’m sorry you guys I couldn’t get a knockout. It’s really what I wanted tonight. I wanted to fight the three rounds, but I wasn’t satisfied with my performance. I wanted that knockout,” said Belfort following the decision win.
During his post-fight interview, Belfort was asked about retirement. He made his professional mixed martial arts debut more than 20 years ago in 1996. He revealed that he has multiple fights left and that we’ll be seeing more of him inside the Octagon.
“I’ve got five more fights to go guys. You’re going to have to swallow Vitor Belfort. I’m going to reinvent myself and come back different every time,” he said.