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Uncaged: Bisping and Belfort to bash it out in Brazil

The pair have already come close to blows this week.
Jan 19th 2013, 8:26 AM 717 1

THE UFC RETURNS to the frenzied MMA hotbed of Brazil this weekend with Vitor Belfort the main attraction as he takes on Michael Bisping in the middleweight division.

Vitor Belfort holds Antony Johnson in a headlock Felipe Dana/AP/Press Association Images

Daniel Sarafian will finally make his UFC debut in front of his home fans as he faces C. B. Dollaway while Gabriel Gonzaga will help fly the flag for the Brazilians as he takes on Ben Rothwell.

Thiago Tavares and Khabib Nurmagomedov complete the main card with perhaps the most intriguing fight of the night as it will be interesting to see if the young Russian is really as good as his impressive unbeaten record suggests.

Tempers flare

Things got a little heated between Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping at the press conference for this weekend’s fight when the Brazilian got a little too close for comfort when the two faced off. A visibly hyped-up Belfort put his fist right up to Bisping’s chin prompting the Yorkshire man to push Belfort’s hand out of the way and the two were quickly separated before any real handbags could ensue.


YouTube credit: UFC.

This has added a little spice to an already close and competitive fight and although Belfort has been beaten by Anderson Silva, Bisping has yet to get a shot but has been promised a title fight if he wins this bout.

Belfort had looked rejuvenated before being stopped by Jon Jones last time out but he did manage to trouble Jones more than anyone else had done previously. Bisping’s only loss in his last six fights was a close decision defeat at the hands of Chael Sonnen, a fight in which he came out with a lot of respect because of his impressive performance.

“The Count” will have to avoid “The Phenom’s” massive right hand and will probably be on the back foot for much of the fight because of Belfort’s relentless aggressiveness. This could suit Bisping as he can counter with trademark jabs and uppercuts and could be part of his game-plan to try and sneak rounds on his way to a hard-fought decision victory.

Best of the rest

Thiago Tavares has it all to do if he is to become the first man to beat the Russian prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov. Tavares is coming into this fight off the back of two wins while Nurmagomedov has won his first two UFC fights.

Tavares is best known for his strong submission game while the Russian is an accomplished grappler who loves to initiate exchanges and has a decent mixture of KO as well as submission wins on his record. Conditioning is therefore key is this bout with the Russian having the slight upper-hand in that department.


YouTube credit: ProFCUkraineMMA

C. B. Dollaway has never really had any momentum going since he appeared on season seven of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Every time he seemed to be kick starting his career with an impressive victory he fell back to earth with an unexpected defeat.

Daniel Sarafian also got his in through TUF but was unable to complete the show due to an arm injury. He finally makes his UFC debut this weekend but having been out of action since 2011 ring-rust may be the biggest problem he must overcome. Being out of action for so long means that Dollaway is favourite to win this one.

In the heavyweight division big Ben Rothwell will be looking for another quick KO victory just like in his last fight against Brendan Schaub while Gabriel Gonzaga wants to make it three wins on the bounce. Gonzaga will be spurred on by the home crowd and may have to be patient if he is to get anything from this fight.

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Brian Kirk

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