Lyoto Machida retires Vitor Belfort with front head kick
Vitor Belfort has been unable to complete a fairytale farewell to his MMA career. The former UFC light heavyweight champion was granted a final foray into the octagon in front of a home crowd at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro.
His defeat was a stunning one, at the hands of fellow veteran and countryman, Lyoto Machida. The 40-year-old managed to finish the 41-year-old with a front kick that slipped through the gate, cannoning into Belfort’s head, snapping it backwards.
The two friends showed great respect for each other in the first round which was not an entertaining one. Both fighters felt each other out for the majority of the round with few strikes being offered. It was nearly as if the two were overly respectful towards each other. The crowd became restless and the round was pretty much a stalemate.
The second began the same way and the crowd were absolutely hanging out for a few fireworks. The MMA gods were with them, because out of the clear blue sky, despite neither fighter looking likely to land a proper strike, Belfort was all of a sudden on the receiving end of a front kick that he never saw coming.
Whilst the kick drew a roar from the crowd, the atmosphere within the cage was much more subdued and respectful Machida got down on bent knee to pay homage to his mate and esteemed champion of his sport. It was a befitting end to a career filled with highs and lows
Belfort announced his retirement post-fight, officially. The 41-year-old finished his career with 26 wins, 14 losses and one No Contest. Highlights of his career include winning the Light Heavyweight title in 2006. In all, the Brazilian contested for a title belt 5 times over the years, winning once.
Machida’s “Performance of the Night”-winning kick moves his career stats to 24 and 8. The Brazilian who turns 41 later in May is also expected to announce his retirement soon.
Watch the stunning finish to the UFC 224 fight on the player below.
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