In what sounds like it isn’t his last fight after all, Vitor Belfort earned a unanimous decision victory over Nate Marquardt tonight at UFC 212 in Rio.
Cautious opening for both fighters with 30 seconds past before Marquardt lands a quick low kick. Another half a minute goes past before Marquardt throws a right hand and then lands a takedown.
Good start for ‘The Great’ then and he settles into Belfort’s full guard and throws his shoulder into Belfort’s head a few times. Not too much action happening, but it still feels premature when the referee stands them up again.
Low kick for Marquardt. He tries to go upstairs with a front kick, but doesn’t connect. Belfort unloads with a hard left hand that doesn’t quite land, but it gets the crowd going.
Jumping front kick attempt from Marquardt. He misses with a hook as Belfort looks for a counter. Right hand lands for Marquardt.
Leg kick for Marquardt. Now he goes to the inside of the leg. Belfort not offered a lot offensively so far, but he does through a head kick in the final seconds of the round that’s blocked.
Leg kick for Marquardt. Another one. Now a third. Marquardt happy to just work from range here. He lands a teep kick and then goes upstairs with another.
Marquardt comes in for a punch but eats a counter uppercut and then Belfort backs him up and swarms with a flurry of punches and knees to his opponent who is in a defensive shell against the cage. However, Marquardt then steels himself and fires back, which stops the onslaught from ‘The Phenom’ for now.
Back to the center of the cage they go and the pace slows. nice hook lands for Marquardt and opens a cut to Belfort’s left eye. Front kick for him upstairs just misses.
COuple of hard body kicks from Marquardt. Head kick from Belfort at least partially connects, but Marquardt seems ok. Marquardt misses with an attack and is caught with a counter punch at the end of the round.
Belfort flashes out the left hand in the opening seconds of the third round. Leg kick for Marquardt. Still quite a cautious pace from both men here in the final round.
Jab for Marquardt. Front kick to the body for him now. A right hand grazes Belfort. Now a kick. Uppercut lands for Belfort.
Marquardt with a head kick that’s blocked. Half the round to go and Belfort is still not being offensive yet.
Suddenly a right hook lands for Belfort, but he wasn’t able to follow up on it. Marquardt with a leg kick. Head kick for Belfort is blocked.
Now a solid body kick for Belfort. He lands a right hand and Marquardt looked a little hurt by that and you can tell that’s the case because he suddenly goes for a takedown that doesn’t pay off.
Belfort threatening again. He throws a head kick that grazes the top of Marquardt’s head. Marquardt trying to clinch up but they then go back to striking range.
Final 10 seconds. Marquardt with a flying knee to the body. Marquardt with another punch before the final bell and we are headed to the judges for a decision.
A close fight then and often fought quite cautiously, particularly by Belfort. However, though Marquardt was the more active of the two, Belfort had the bigger moments and hurt his opponent a few times, which appears to have swayed the judges who hand ‘The Phenom’ a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3).
After the fight Belfort appears to rule out retirement, claiming that he has five more fights left in him.