The Young Dinosaur got his hand raised in Brazil one more time.
Vitor Belfort, who has been around so long that he’s not only a former UFC light heavyweight champion, but also a former UFC one-night tournament winner, implemented a patient game plan against fellow vet Nate Marquardt on Saturday night.
And while the decision was certainly debatable, it was enough to give the 40-year-old Belfort the unanimous decision at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The judges scores were 29-28 across the board.
Lest anyone think this was the last we’ll see of “The Phenom,” he told the fans he’s going to stick around awhile.
“I’ve got five more fights to go, guys,” he said.
Marquardt (35-18-2) got things started by scoring a trip and working from top control. The former Strikeforce and Pancrase champ wasn’t there long before referee Osiris Maia called for a questionable standup. From there, it was a tactical battle, as Marquardt didn’t want to spend much time in the pocket with Belfort’s finishing capabilities.
Belfort showed why in the second, as he opened up with his heaviest artillery of the fight. But Marquardt scampered to safety and slowed Belfort back own with smartly placed kicks.
In the third, Belfort seemed to want it a little more, landing enough to eke out the decision in a fight that was hanging in the balance.
With the victory, Belfort (26-13, 1 NC) won for the first time in his past four fights.
“I was very excited,” Belfort said. “(Trainer) Firas (Zahabi) told me to calm down a little bit. I’m sorry, I wanted to get a knockout tonight, I was satisfied with my performance but I wanted the knockout.”