September 20, 2009
The Dallas crowd was grumbling as Vitor Belfort waited to pounce with his counter-punching. A veteran with excellent boxing skills wasn't about to employ a rock'em, sock'em approach. The patient Belfort waited for a mistake from Rich Franklin. He got it a little over three minutes into fight. Franklin failed to put his hands up after attempting a couple of rights. Belfort, a southpaw, clipped Franklin with a left that dropped the American to his knees where "The Phenom" drilled him with another left. That put Franklin face first down on the mat. Belfort unloaded three more big shots to the side of Franklin's head. Referee Yves Lavigne stopped it at 3:02 of the first round in the main event of UFC 103, giving Belfort his UFC win since UFC 46 in 2004.
"I want to thank of all the fans. I miss this vibe. I trained so hard, away from my family for three months. God gave me the gift of speed and power," Belfort said after the win.
Even five minutes after the fight was stopped, Franklin was still dazed.
"I'm a little scrambled. I asked my corner what caught me and put me down?," Franklin then joked. "Let's take a look at the big screen."
After Franklin watched the first punch that hurt him, he commented that it only looked like a glancing blow.
"Once you get clipped everything kind of goes blank. At this point, you're trying unscramble things."
Franklin (25-5, 12-5 UFC) is back to square one. He was hoping to earn an eventual shot at UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida. He's only faced top competition in his last three fights, but he lost two of them, a decision to Dan Henderson and now the lost to Belfort. He has a win over Wanderlei Silva.
The UFC brought Belfort (19-8, 8-4 UFC) back after acquiring the now-defunct Affliction fight promotion. The UFC is hoping that Belfort can be the fresh fighter who can step up to face its unbeatable force at middleweight, Anderson Silva.
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