Sunday, September 23, 2012

Belfort seeks upset against younger champ

Belfort seeks upset against younger champ, Sun Sentinel Correspondent Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort is standing in the Octagon dripping with sweat after Monday's workout at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center. Belfort (21-9, 14 KOs) is discussing Saturday's light heavyweight title fight against champion Jon "Bones" Jones (16-1, 8 KOs) in Toronto, the main event of UFC 152.
And despite being a heavy underdog, Belfort is totally at peace. "Some people, they realize who they are is what they have," said Belfort, the 35-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champ. "I have something nobody can steal from me, it's my inner-man, things that are inside of me."

While most fighters would be rattled going through the long list of changes Belfort is experiencing — a new trainer, a new cornerman, a new gym, a new team and, soon, a new hometown — he seems energized. In a move that raised eyebrows in the MMA community Belfort is using Rashad Evans, the former UFC champion and Boca Raton resident, as his trainer and cornerman Saturday. That's a big change.  And, in another somewhat surprising change,

Belfort has elected to leave his previous camp in Las Vegas and permanently relocate his family to South Florida where he'll join a new team, the upstart "Blackzilians." "It was a big choice for him," said Evans, who lost his title fight against Jones at UFC 145 in April. "But the fact he was able to find so much trust in us, and the fact we were able to have such a good connection right away. It definitely aided in him making a very good decision to come down here." Belfort, who won his light heavyweight title in 2004 with a victory over the legendary Randy Couture but lost it seven months later in a rematch, wasn't the UFC's first choice as Jones' opponent. Jones was supposed to fight Dan Henderson in UFC 151 on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas, but a knee injury prevented Henderson from competing.

 The UFC tabbed Chael Sonnen as a replacement, and he agreed, but Jones nixed the idea, an unprecedented turn of events that forced the first cancellation in UFC history. Lyoto Machida turned down an invitation for the title fight. That led to Belfort's opportunity. "A lot of guys stepped up and offered themselves," Belfort said, "but they chose me. They chose me for a reason."
Title: Belfort seeks upset against younger champ
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