UFC® 133 Pre-Fight Press Conference at the Independence Visitors Center on August 4, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) via UFC.com
Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort (19-9; 8-5 UFC) faces Japanese mega-star Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3, 2 NC; 1-2 UFC). This Middleweight contest is the semi-main event of the UFC 133 PPV broadcast.
How do these two stack up?
Belfort: 31 years old | 5'11" | 75" reach
Akiyama: 36 years old | 5'10" | 75" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
For Belfort, this is fight #3 in his 3rd UFC run. At one time considered an undeniable future world champion and all time great, Belfort has had a very rocky ride through his career. He's now training at Xtreme Couture and seems to have put those personal problems behind him. His UFC return came against Rich Franklin, where Belfort showed off the devastating hands that first earned him such high accolades. Since then, he's been the victim of the Steven Seagal kick by Anderson Silva, and looks to bounce back here.
Akiyama came into the UFC already a massive star in Japan. The former Hero's and Dream fighter has been involved in some classic fights in Japan, but, like so many others, has failed to make a smooth transition to the US. He's 1-2 in the UFC, and even that one win comes from a questionable decision. His overseas popularity makes him an asset should the UFC look to run in Japan, but a loss here could easily spell the end of his tenure.
Why should you care?
Despite his shortcomings in the UFC, Akiyama is a perfect 3-0 in scoring Fight of the Night, and he could do so once again here. This should be a very fun fight, with Akiyama looking to exchange, and Vitor ready to put him out. Plus, Vitor's ability to end a fight at a moment's notice always makes his fights thrilling affairs.