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Vitor Vieira Belfort (born April 1, 1977 in Rio de Janeiromarker) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist, who has fought both in Japan and the United States. He is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and the last Cage Rage light heavyweight champion.


Belfort studied Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with the Gracie family, namely Carlson Gracie. He received a black belt under Carlson. He currently trains out of Xtreme Couture, and is now fighting in the middleweight division. Belfort is currently ranked #7 in the world at Middleweight according to's rankings.

MMA career

At the age of 19, Belfort came to the United States to compete. In his first sanctioned mixed martial arts match, an event called Superbrawl in Hawaii, his opponent was Jon Hess, who the young Brazilian defeated in 12 seconds by knockout (KO).


Soon after, he moved on to compete in the UFC, where he was given the nickname The Phenom. He beat two fighters in his debut event in the UFC, winning the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament. At age 19, Belfort became the youngest fighter to ever score a victory inside the octagon. Belfort's next match saw him score a technical knockout (TKO) against the UFC 6 runner-up Tank Abbott in a non-tournament fight, knocking Abbott down and finishing him with a ground and pound attack.

In 1997 Belfort fought against American Greco-Roman wrestler Randy Couture. Belfort was upset by TKO 8:16 into the match, his boxing skills negated by Couture's clinch fighting.

After this defeat, he would fight twice more in the UFC. The first of these fights was against a training partner of his, Joe Charles, who he defeated quickly via armbar without throwing a single punch. A year later, Belfort faced rising Brazilian star and future Pride Middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva. Catching Silva early with a left cross, Belfort chased him across the ring with a flurry of punches, TKOing Silva in just 44 seconds.


Vitor then moved on to fight in Japan's Pride Fighting Championships. His first opponent was Kazushi Sakuraba in 1999. Vitor controlled the first minutes of the fight before breaking his hand, the remainder of the fight was spend on his back being stomped and kicked by Sakuraba. Following the fight he stopped training with Carlson Gracie and started to train with Brazilian Top Team.

He fought five more times in Pride against Gilbert Yvel, Daijiro Matsui, Bobby Southworth, Yoshiki Takahashi, and Heath Herring. For these matches Belfort used his stand-up striking skills less and instead controlled the fights and won by ground-and-pound tactics, with the exception of his fights with Southworth and Takahashi, which he won via rear naked choke and knockout in the first round respectively.

Return to the UFC

Returning to the UFC, Belfort was scheduled to fight Tito Ortiz in the main event of UFC's first Las Vegasmarker show at UFC 33. However, he sustained an injury prior to the event, and the bout was cancelled. Belfort eventually returned and fought Chuck Liddell (losing via decision), then Marvin Eastman (winning via TKO and opening a severe cut on Eastman's eyebrow with a knee strike).

His next fight was on February 2, 2004, a rematch with Randy Couture for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Despite agonizing over his sister Priscila Belfort who disappeared on January 9, Vitor won the fight in 49 seconds after a seam from his glove cut Couture's eye leaving Couture with a corneal abrasion, prompting a referee stoppage. A third match between the two took place on August 21, 2004. Couture won via doctor stoppage after the third round, recapturing the UFC light heavyweight title.

His next fight in the UFC was against Tito Ortiz on February 5, 2005. Belfort broke Tito's nose with punches in the first round and nearly stopped Ortiz in the second. The battle raged on as Vitor tried to keep it standing as Ortiz looked to continue to take the fight to the ground. Unable to finish the fight, Belfort lost by split decision.

Pro boxing

On April 11, 2006 Vitor fought in his pro boxing debut against Josemario Neves. Belfort won by TKO within the first minute after knocking his opponent down three times. This has been his sole venture into the sport of professional boxing so far.

Steroid controversy

At Pride 32: The Real Deal on October 21, 2006, Belfort lost a unanimous decision to Pride Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson. After the fight, Belfort tested positive for an illegal substance, 4-hydroxytestosterone. In his defense, Belfort argued that he purchased an over the counter supplement which contained 4-Hydroxytestosterone. Belfort also explained that he may have received 4-Hydroxytestosterone as the result of rehabilitative injections given to him by Brazilian endocrinologist Dr. Rodrigo M. Greco after his surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee in the summer of 2006. The Nevada State Athletic Commission eventually received a statement from Dr. Greco stating that he did give Belfort post surgical injections containing testosterone. While conceding that Belfort may have not known about the testosterone, the NSAC explained that even if Belfort was given injections by a medical practictioner who did not inform him that they contained anabolic steroids, it would still be a violation of the banned substances policy. On December 21, 2006 he was suspended for nine months from the date of the hearing and fined $10,000.

Cage Rage

Vitor Belfort defeated Ivan Serati by TKO at Cage Rage 21 in England on April 21, 2007.

He defeated James Zikic on September 22, 2007 at Cage Rage 23 to claim the Cage Rage light heavyweight title in a unanimous decision. He entered the fight with a broken hand and during the fight threw minimal punches and utilized takedowns and ground and pound techniques. He apologized to the crowd for not putting on a good show but promised a better fight next time.


Vitor spent a brief time training for his Affliction fight against Terry Martin with Chute Boxe in Brazil. However he completed his preparation for the fight at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Shawn Tompkins and Randy Couture helped train him for the fight in which he got a second round KO by landing a flying knee and following up with an uppercut straight-left combination.

After the fight Couture said Belfort was thinking about moving to Las Vegas and training at Xtreme Couture full time.

Belfort's next fight was slated to be against Matt Lindland at the second Affliction event, however he was forced to pull out, due to a hand-injury sustained during the Terry Martin fight. The second Affliction event was postponed anyway and rescheduled for January 2009, enabling Vitor to fight on that card.

After rumours of a possible bout with reigning Dream Middleweight Grand Prix winner Gegard Mousasi were circulating, it was announced that Vitor would finally fight Lindland at Affliction: Day of Reckoning. Lindland was originally slated to fight Renato Sobral at a catchweight, but promoters of Affliction preferred the Belfort Vs. Lindland fight at Middleweight. The fight ended in a KO within thirty-seven seconds as Belfort delivered a strong left to Lindland's jaw and followed up with four vicious shots as he hit the ground.

Belfort was expected to fight against Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction: Trilogy on August 1, 2009, substituting for Josh Barnett, who was denied a fight license by the California State Athletic Commission for failing a pre-fight drug test. However, on July 24, the event was canceled.

Second return to the UFC

During a July 31, 2009 press conference, Dana White announced that the UFC has signed Belfort to a contract. His first match was against Rich Franklin at a catchweight of 195 lbs, headlining UFC 103, which he won by KO three minutes and two seconds into the first round.

Belfort is expected to face Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Championship. The bout was originally scheduled for UFC 108; however, Silva's manager, Ed Soares, announced that Silva will not be fully recovered from his injuries by that time so the fight will be postponed.

Belfort was expected to face Silva on February 6, 2010 at UFC 109. The fight was later cancelled, however, due to Silva's continued slow recovery from elbow surgery.

Personal life

Belfort is married to Joana Prado and together they have three children, a son named Davi, who was born February 6, 2005 and a daughter named Victoria, who was born October 31, 2007, and a daughter named Kyara, who was born June 7, 2009. Belfort is also a Christian and displayed a T-shirt that said "I am second, Jesus 1st" after his win over Rich Franklin in UFC 103.

Belfort also had a small part in a reality show on Brazilian television and appeared next to his wife when she was photographed for the Brazilian edition of Playboy.

On January 9, 2004, Vitor's sister, Priscila Belfort was kidnapped and the relatives received no information about her. In August 2007 a woman (identified as Elaine Paiva) confessed that she participated in her killing and that she was kidnapped to pay off a four thousand dollar debt Paiva had with drug dealers. Paiva was arrested along with three others alleged to be involved in the kidnapping that took place in January 2004.

Vitor Belfort speaks Portuguese, English, French, and Spanish.

Championships and awards

Ultimate Fighting Championship
UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament Champion
Former UFC Light-heavyweight Champion
Cage Rage
Current Cage Rage Light-heavyweight Champion

MMA record



External links

Record Date Result Opponent Event Method Round Time Location Notes
19-8 2009-09-19 Win Rich Franklin UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort KO (Punches) 1 3:02 Dallas, Texasmarker, USA Catchweight bout at 195 lbs,

Knockout of the Night Honors
18–8 2009-01-24 Win Matt Lindland Affliction: Day of Reckoning KO (Punches) 1 0:37 Anaheim, Californiamarker, US
17–8 2008-07-19 Win Terry Martin Affliction: Banned KO (Punches) 2 3:12 Anaheim, California, US Debut at Middleweight (185 lbs)
16–8 2007-09-22 Win James Zikic Cage Rage 23 Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 London, Englandmarker, UK Won Cage Rage World Light Heavyweight Title
15–8 2007-04-21 Win Ivan Serati Cage Rage 21 TKO (Punches) 1 3:47 London, England, UK
14–8 2006-10-21 Loss Dan Henderson PRIDE 32: The Real Deal Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevadamarker, US Tested positive for banned substance after fight
14–7 2006-07-02 Win Yoshiki Takahashi PRIDE Critical Countdown Absolute KO 1 0:36 Saitama, Japan
13–7 2006-06-09 Loss Alistair Overeem Strikeforce: Revenge Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 San Jose, Californiamarker, US Heavyweight bout
13–6 2005-12-03 Win Antony Rea Cage Rage 14: Punishment KO 2 1:30 London, England, UK
12–6 2005-04-23 Loss Alistair Overeem PRIDE Total Elimination 2005 Submission (Guillotine Choke) 1 9:36 Osaka, Japan PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Opening Round
12–5 2005-02-05 Loss Tito Ortiz UFC 51: Super Saturday Decision (Split) 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, US
12–4 2004-08-21 Loss Randy Couture UFC 49: Unfinished Business TKO (Doctor Stoppage) 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, US Lost UFC Light Heavyweight title
12–3 2004-01-31 Win Randy Couture UFC 46: Supernatural TKO (Cut) 1 0:49 Las Vegas, Nevada, US Won UFC Light Heavyweight title
11–3 2003-06-06 Win Marvin Eastman UFC 43: Meltdown TKO (Strikes) 1 1:07 Las Vegas, Nevada, US
10–3 2002-06-22 Loss Chuck Liddell UFC 37.5: As Real As It Gets Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, US
10–2 2001-05-27 Win Heath Herring PRIDE 14: Clash of the Titans Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
9–2 2001-03-25 Win Bobby Southworth PRIDE 13: Collision Course Submission (Rear Naked Choke) 1 4:09 Saitama, Japan
8–2 2000-08-27 Win Daijiro Matsui PRIDE 10: Return of the Warriors Decision (Unanimous) 2 10:00 Saitama, Japan
7–2 2000-06-04 Win Gilbert Yvel PRIDE 9: New Blood Decision (Unanimous) 2 10:00 Nagoya, Japan
6–2 1999-04-29 Loss Kazushi Sakuraba PRIDE 5 Decision (Unanimous) 2 10:00 Nagoya, Japan
6–1 1998-10-16 Win Wanderlei Silva UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil TKO (Strikes) 1 0:44 Sao Paulomarker, Brazil Debut at 200 lbs
5–1 1997-12-21 Win Joe Charles UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan Submission (Armbar) 1 4:03 Yokohama, Japan
4–1 1997-10-17 Loss Randy Couture UFC 15: Collision Course TKO (Strikes) 1 8:16 Bay St. Louis, Mississippimarker, US
4–0 1997-05-30 Win Tank Abbott UFC 13: The Ultimate Force TKO (Strikes) 1 0:52 Augusta, Georgiamarker, US
3–0 1997-02-07 Win Scott Ferrozzo UFC 12: Judgment Day TKO (Strikes) 1 0:43 Dothan, Alabamamarker, US Won UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament
2–0 1997-02-07 Win Tra Telligman UFC 12: Judgment Day TKO (Cut) 1 1:17 Dothan, Alabama, US
1–0 1996-10-11 Win Jon Hess SuperBrawl 2 KO 1 0:12 Honolulu, Hawaiimarker, US

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