Vitor Belfort flattened Luke Rockhold at UFC on FX 8. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Put Vitor Belfort on a UFC on FX card in Brazil, and what do you get? Spectacular head-kick knockouts, that’s what.
For the second consecutive fight, “The Phenom” laid waste to a promising contender in the UFC’s middleweight division, as he stopped former Strikeforce 185-pound king Luke Rockhold with a spinning heel kick and follow-up punches in the UFC on FX 8 headliner at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, on Saturday night. In January, the Blackzilians representative dispatched Michael Bisping with a head kick and follow-up strikes at UFC on FX 7.
With the win, Belfort appears to be in position for another title shot, but much depends on what happens when reigning champion Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman square off at < a href="/events/UFC-162-Silva-vs-Weidman-28459">UFC 162 in July. Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC on FX 8, with statistics courtesy of FightMetric.com.
11: First round finishes for Belfort in the UFC, the most of anyone in the promotion. “The Phenom” landed a spectacular spinning heel kick on Rockhold and pounced for follow-up strikes on the mat to earn a knockout victory 2:32 into round one.
9.27: Average significant strikes landed by Belfort in those 11 triumphs. The Brazilian landed nine significant strikes against Rockhold.
2,020: Days since Rockhold’s last professional defeat, a first-round TKO loss to Tony Rubalcava at “Melee on the Mountain” in Friant, Calif. The former Strikeforce titlist had won nine consecutive fights before falling to Belfort.
16: Brazilians who competed at UFC on FX 8, tying it with UFC 153 for second most all-time in promotion history. Only UFC 147 featured more athletes from the South American country (21).
9-1: Record for Brazilians in bouts against opposition from other countries on Saturday. Only Hacran Dias, who dropped a unanimous verdict to American Nik Lentz, came up short on his home soil.
.555: Finishing percentage on submissions in one UFC and eight Strikeforce bouts for Ronaldo Souza, who is 5-for-9 on submission attempts during that time. “Jacare” earned a technical submission against Chris Camozzi in the first round of their middleweight clash on Saturday night.
2: Significant strikes by which Evan Dunham outlanded Rafael dos Anjos over the course of their three-round lightweight matchup. Dunham outlanded his foe in round three (37 to 26), but dos Anjos had the edge in rounds one (20-12) and two (20-19) in winning a controversial unanimous decision. Dunham also landed the only three takedowns of the fight.
499: Total strikes thrown by Dunham and dos Anjos combined. Dunham went 90 for 295, while dos Anjos was 86 of 204.
18: Takedowns landed by Nik Lentz in three 145-pound appearances. The American Top Team representative had landed just three in his previous three outings at lightweight, which resulted in two losses and a no contest. Lentz landed four takedowns in his victory over Hacran Dias.
8: Difference in significant strikes landed by Dias in round three (24) and rounds one and two combined (16). The Brazilian fighter’s corner urged him to pursue the finish prior to the final frame, but Lentz survived to get the unanimous decision win.
68: Career takedowns landed by Gleison Tibau, No. 2 all-time in the UFC behind Georges St. Pierre (84). Tibau landed two takedowns in four attempts during his second-round submission victory over John Cholish.
.931: Takedown defense rate for Tibau, No. 1 in the promotion among those with at least five fights and 20 takedowns defended. He has now faced 59 takedowns in his UFC tenure, stuffing Cholish’s lone attempt in round two.
98: Total strikes landed by Paulo Thiago in his three-round triumph over Michel Richard dos Prazeres, just two less than he had landed in his previous five Octagon appearances combined.
.857: Percentage of Iuri Alcantara’s 28 career victories that have resulted in a knockout, technical knockout or submission. “Marajo” earned his 24th finish by stopping Iliarde Santos with punches 2:31 into the opening round of their bantamweight showdown.
71: Significant strikes by which Fabio Maldonado outlanded Roger Hollett in their light heavyweight scrap. The former professional boxer dominated the final two frames, outlanding his Canadian opponent 95 to 24 in significant strikes en route to earning a unanimous decision.
18-3: Combined record of Jussier da Silva (8-1) and Chris Cariaso (10-2) in bouts that go the distance. “Formiga” held off a hard-charging Cariaso to earn a unanimous verdict in a preliminary flyweight contest.