COMMENTARY | On Saturday, November 19, Vitor Belfort beat Michael Bisping via second-round TKO in the main event of UFC on FX 7. Bisping would have earned a title shot against Anderson Silva if he'd pulled off the victory. Instead, the UFC will need to find someone else to challenge the reigning champion.
Belfort's victory capped an interesting night of fights at UFC on FX 7. Here are three thoughts on the main card:
Gabriel Gonzaga stops Ben Rothwell
Gabriel Gonzaga is one of the true mysteries of MMA. At one point, I believe that he had the talent to compete for a title, but he always seemed to wilt under pressure. That's what we saw in losses to Fabricio Werdum, Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos. Now it appears that he's about to get another chance at the big names on top of the heavyweight division after submitting Ben Rothwell on Saturday night.
It wasn't an especially dominating performance from Gonzaga. He was clearly the better fighter both standing and on the ground, but it wasn't pretty to watch. Gonzaga was rather slow and sloppy with his punches, and he gassed out quickly. That's why I'm not impressed with the victory. I think he's no longer capable of challenging the top guys in the heavyweight division, and his sluggish performance proved it.
C.B. Dollaway slips past Daniel Sarafian
Let's be honest, this was an ugly fight to watch. It was two men grinding it out for the victory, and it's only fitting that it ended in a split-decision. Personally, I believe that Sarafian won the fight. I gave him the decisive third round after he took Dollaway's back and worked for the submission throughout the last couple minutes. Sarafian also landed a nice power shot in the closing seconds of the round that sealed it on my scorecard.
However, I can't really argue with anyone who thought that Dollaway won the fight. He took the second round, and did control much of the third. I think the more important thing to take from this fight is how much heart both men showed throughout all 15 minutes. Sarafian gassed out, but he kept pushing forward. Dollaway took some serious punches, but he found a way to recover. That's what MMA is all about. Both men left it all in the cage, and I can't ask for any more than that.
Bisping fails to earn the title shot
Stop me if this sounds familiar, but Michael Bisping blew another chance to earn a title shot. He's had three opportunities to earn his shot at the belt, and he's lost every single time. I think it proves something that many experts have already said about Bisping: he's not an elite fighter. Don't get me wrong, he's a very good mixed martial artist, but he's not great.
At age 33, Bisping is heading towards the twilight of his career. His striking has peaked, and his chin will never be better than it was when Dan Henderson knocked him out in 2009. Bisping has now lost two out of his last three fights. I think his title contention days are over.
As for Belfort, I don't think that this victory will do much to put him back in title contention. He's already had two shots at a belt since February 2011, and this was his first bout back in the middleweight division. However, if Belfort can pull off a couple more wins this year, we might just see him get another chance at Anderson Silva.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA for 20 years. He has been published on GatewayMMA.com, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.