Fighting in front of his hometown crowd, Vitor Belfort submitted Anthony Johnson in the first round at UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Johnson wanted to use his wrestling skills caught a kick for a takedown early in the first round. Belfort looked for submissions from his back, but couldn't find any, and they were stood up by referee Dan Miragliotta. Belfort landed a knee and stuffed Johnson's takedowns, while Johnson was still able to land several big strikes.
As the crowd chanted, "Ole Ole Ole! Vitor, Vitor!" Belfort took Johnson's back and cinched it with a body triangle. Belfort methodically worked his arms under Johnson's chin, and secured the rear naked choke for the submission at 4:49 in the first round.
The fight was in question after Johnson weighed in at 197 lbs. for the 185-lb. division. Johnson had to weigh in again at 2 p.m. on Saturday and weigh less than 205 lbs. for the fight to go on. Johnson fought for years at welterweight and had trouble with the weight cut then.
"I fought big guys. I'm not afraid of size. I'm ready to fight whatever, but I cut 20 lbs. in four days. I've got to be a professional. I cannot control the outcome, but I can control my attitude," Belfort said after the bout.
Belfort lost to Anderson Silva in a title bout last February, but has two first-round wins since then. Next, he is slated to coach the first Brazilian edition of "The Ultimate Fighter" against fellow Brazilian MMA legend Wanderlei Silva.
Johnson is in a precarious position. Not making weight will draw the ire of UFC president Dana White, and it does not help to lose a fight the next day.
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