If there is a way to send a message about earning a middleweight title shot, Vitor Belfort did it at UFC Fight Night 32 in Goinaia, Brazil. The UFC middleweight (although competing at light heavyweight for this contest) stopped Dan Henderson with strikes at 1:17 of the very first round. It's the first time Henderson has ever been stopped with strikes in his 40-fight career.
The bout began with Henderson taking center of the cage and stalking the Brazilian, both being careful, but Henderson looking to land the famous right hand. Belfort, however, used his trademark hand speed, clipping Henderson with a sneaky left uppercut that folded the American as he attempted to close the distance.
Henderson tried to recover, but couldn't make it happen. Belfort landed hard, precise ground and pound. Henderson tried to stand to recover, but was met with a left high kick that landed flush on his chin, forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the action.
"Without the support of everyone in my camp, the Blackzilians, and without the support of my wife and kids, I have to thank them," Belfort said via post-fight translator.
Belfort jumps to 24-10 in MMA while Henderson loses three in a row for the first time ever, moving to 29-11.