Article

Back to The Future - Belfort KO's Franklin in One

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Who said you can’t go home? Tonight, in his first UFC bout since 2005, former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort showed a glimpse of the speed and finishing power that made him one of the most beloved fighters in mixed martial arts as he knocked out Rich Franklin in the first round of the UFC 103 main event Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

By Thomas Gerbasi

DALLAS, September 19 – Who said you can’t go home? Tonight, in his first UFC bout since 2005, former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort showed a glimpse of the speed and finishing power that made him one of the most beloved fighters in mixed martial arts as he knocked out Rich Franklin in the first round of the UFC 103 main event Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

It was Belfort’s third straight knockout win, and first in the UFC since he halted Marvin Eastman at UFC 43 in 2003.

“I miss this I miss this vibe, and I’m here for a reason,” said Belfort. “I trained so hard and I’ve been away from my family or three months.”

The training showed, as his timing was on when the opening presented itself against the former middleweight champion. Initially, the two southpaws circled each other at close range, with both Franklin and Belfort throwing out the occasional range-finding punch or kick. After a tense few minutes, the two exchanged blows, with Belfort landing a left to the top of the head that took Franklin’s legs out from under him. Belfort, showing the quickness that first got him dubbed ‘The Phenom’ as a 19-year old in the UFC, pounced and scored with a left to the jaw that really rocked Franklin, with referee Yves Lavigne intervening to stop the fight at 3:02 of the opening round.

“Once you get clipped everything kinda goes blank,” said Franklin of the final sequence.

Tonight’s bout was held at a catchweight of 195 pounds. Belfort’s plan is to move back down to the middleweight division to pursue current 185-pound boss Anderson Silva.

“I’m here to work,” said Belfort, now 19-8. “Anderson is my friend and I like him as a fighter, but I’m here to fight anybody.”

Franklin, 27-5, 1 NC, who has lost two of his last three, will take some time to figure out his next move.

“Losing wasn’t part of my plan, so I’m going to let the dust settle and see what’s going on,” said Franklin.


 

Sunday, May 29
9PM/6PM
ETPT
Las Vegas, Nevada

Media

Recent
UFC commentator Joe Rogan breaks down and preview the five-round main event between Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt, who meet at Fight Night Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The event airs live and free on FS1.
26-May-2016
UFC bantamweight Thomas Almeida has put in a ton of work to ascend to the top 10 of his division in the UFC with a perfect record intact. Now he's eyeing the title and his journey to the top continues at Fight Night Las Vegas vs Cody Garbrandt.
26-May-2016
Thomas Almeida talks with UFC correspondent Amanda Salvato and the two spend the day driving race cars. Almeida looks to extend his unbeaten streak of 21-0 on Sunday against Cody Garbrandt at Fight Night Las Vegas.
26-May-2016
Fight Night Las Vegas kicks off Sunday on FS1 at 9pm/6pm ETPT. Don't miss the headlining fight between Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida, plus Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens and more.
26-May-2016