- UFC on FX 7
Belfort shatters Bisping's title dream in Brazil
Michael Bisping's UFC title dream was sent crashing to the canvas by one supremely timed Vitor Belfort head kick as the Brit was stopped in the UFC on FX 7 main event on Saturday.
Belfort served warning of the fight-ending blow when he caught Bisping late in round one, but there would only be one let-off for England's figurehead star as the Phenom ended things at 1.27 of the second round.
With Bisping looking to jab, weave and plot his way past one of the sport's most legendary knockout exponents, he never truly managed to apply any pressure as Belfort pounced for the finish, forcing a quick but correct stoppage from referee Dan Miragliotta.
Saturday was all about Bisping, who was guaranteed to book a middleweight title shot at Anderson Silva with victory. The same scenario is unlikely to now play out for Belfort - due to his previous loss to the champion, even though he is clearly the No. 2 middleweight in the world.
Bisping has been in 'final hurdle' territory before, losing to Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen with Silva waiting behind the next door. And much like the Henderson defeat, he will return to the drawing board to figure out how to succeed when he meets the world's elite knockout exponents.
The Brit started confidently enough, showing good head movement and landing a heavy inside-leg kick, making Belfort miss early. However, the Brazilian found his range midway through round one and rocked Bisping late in the stanza with a high kick to signal his intent.
Standing with leg and left hand on the trigger in round two, Belfort swaggered around the Octagon as Bisping began to work his jab once more, eating a body kick as Belfort set up the fight-ending blow. The next time he threw his left leg, it was to the temple of Bisping, who collapsed to the canvas to suffer several follow-up blows as Miragliotta stepped in.
Classy in defeat, Bisping congratulated his rival, saying: "No excuses, well done to Vitor, I had a great camp, I felt confident. It was a beautiful kick, he caught me, he was the better man than me tonight. Congratulations Vitor.
"But I am not going away. You win some, you lose some, I'm gonna be back at the top of the pile before you f***ing know it. See you soon."
Belfort, meanwhile, instantly called for a rematch with light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, roaring: "Get that clown Chael Sonnen out. Get him out. Let me fight Jon Jones, champion v champion, get Chael out. Let me fight for the belt."
UFC on FX 7 results:
Vitor Belfort bt Michael Bisping via TKO at 1.27 of round 2
CB Dollaway bt Daniel Sarafian via split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Gabriel Gonzaga bt Ben Rothwell via guillotine at 1.01 of round 2
Khabib Nurmagomedov bt Thiago Tavares via KO at 1.55 of round 1
Godofredo Castro bt Milton Vieira via split decision (28-27 27-28 28-27)
Ronny Markes bt Andrew Craig via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 29-28)
Nik Lentz bt Diego Nunes Decision via unanimous (30-27 30-27 30-26)
Edson Barboza bt Lucas Martins via submission (punches) at 2.38 of round 1
Yuri Alcantara bt Pedro Nobre NC (punches to back of head) at 2.11 of round 1
Ildemar Alcantara bt Wagner Prado via kneebar at 2.39 of round 2
Francisco Trinaldo bt CJ Keith via arm triangle at 1.50 of round 2