Click below for the UFC 133 main card report....
PHILADELPHIA, August 6 – After a furious barrage of blazing lefts and rights, it wasn’t 2011 Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center, it was 1997, as middleweight contender Vitor Belfort showed off the speed and power that first made his name back in the early days of the UFC as he hurt and finished Yoshihiro Akiyama in devastating fashion in the UFC 133 co-main event.
“I feel great,” said Belfort, who was making his first start since he was knocked out by an Anderson Silva front kick in their February title fight. “I feel like if that kick didn’t land, that’s what would have happened to him (Silva).”
After a tentative opening by both as they got acclimated to the bout, Belfort caught Akiyama with a shot to the head and staggered him. “The Phenom” then went into finishing mode with a ferocious series of punches. Akiyama appeared to be weathering the attack, but as soon as he rose to his feet, Belfort sent him back down, with referee Mario Yamasaki stopping the bout moments later at 1:52 of the round.
“I’m back.” said Belfort.
With the win, Belfort improves to 20-9; Akiyama falls to 13-4 with 2 NC. The Brazilian also received $70,000 for his KO of the Night.
EBERSOLE vs. HALLMAN
The first talking points in the clash of welterweight veterans Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman centered on the arrow shaved in Ebersole’s chest and the speedos worn by Hallman, but as soon as the bell rang, the compelling action in the Octagon took over, and after a rough start, it was Ebersole who moved to 2-0 in the UFC with a first round TKO win.
Hallman rushed from his corner at the opening bell and took Ebersole to the mat, immediately taking his back. Ebersole wouldn’t give up his neck though, eventually bettering his position. This time though, Hallman sunk in a guillotine choke, which Ebersole powered his way out of, leaving him open to pound away with strikes from the top position. Hallman looked to pull off a submission from the bottom, but Ebersole’s attack was relentless, eventually rocking and bloodying Hallman and prompting referee Kevin Mulhall to stop the fight at the 4:28 mark.
With the win, Ebersole improves to 48-14-1 with 1 NC; Hallman falls to 66-14-2 with 1 NC. In a clear UFC first, Dana White announced afterward that Ebersole would receive a $70,000 "Thanks for getting those horrifying shorts off TV as soon as possible" bonus.
PHILIPPOU vs. RIVERA
The expected brawl between middleweight strikers Costa Philippou and Jorge Rivera didn’t materialize, but Philippou did win the three round war of attrition, scoring a three round split decision to earn his first UFC victory.
29-28 twice and 28-29 for Philippou, who improves to 8-2 with 1 NC; Rivera falls to 18-9.
Rivera started his offense off quick, landing with kicks from long range. Surprisingly, Philippou closed the gap, and after a brief tie-up he took Rivera down. Philippou was able to land some punches to the face before Rivera rose to his feet, and the Long Islander kept Rivera pinned to the fence until referee Mario Yamasaki restarted the bout. The visibly heavier Philippou bulled Rivera into the fence a second time, drawing boos from the crowd, but they got back into it when “El Conquistador” got loose and scored with a hard right hand in the final minute.
After boos ended the first round, they quickly turned to cheers in the second as the two middleweights began throwing haymakers. A Philippou right hand hit paydirt and hurt Rivera, and the veteran New Englander looked to be on the verge of being stopped after taking a series of unanswered shots. Remarkably, Rivera not only survived, he reversed position and being landing ground strikes of his own before getting back to his feet. After this burst of activity, Philippou again pushed matters to the fence before going to the mat in an attempt for a submission, but it was not to be.
Rivera pressed the action as the third frame opened, but the tiring Philippou stayed out of trouble and took Rivera to the mat. Rivera attempted a triangle choke from the bottom position, but Philippou easily pulled out of it and the two rose to their feet. With fatigue an obvious issue, the fighters continued to grapple against the fence, with Rivera doing the bulk of the work thanks to some strikes to the head. It wasn’t enough though, and boos filled the arena as the bout ended.
MacDONALD vs. PYLE
In the lead-up to their bout, Mike Pyle made no secret of his belief that 22-year old welterweight phenom Rory MacDonald wasn’t ready for prime time yet. But the Canadian prospect let his fists do the talking as he delivered a dominant first round TKO win over the seasoned vet in the main card opener.
MacDonald drew first blood early in the opening round, dropping Pyle with a quick right hand. Pyle, unhurt, got back to his feet and scored a takedown on his opponent, but MacDonald found his feet just as fast. Pyle stayed close though, scoring another takedown before MacDonald found some distance and landed a quick combination. An ensuing Pyle takedown attempt saw him almost get caught in a choke, but the veteran spun out of danger. MacDonald wasn’t about to be denied though, and as he sent ground strikes in Pyle’s direction, the speed and intensity of each shot increased. Soon, Pyle was on his stomach and covering up, and after a series of unanswered blows, referee Kevin Mulhall was forced to halt the bout at the 3:54 mark.
With the win, MacDonald improves to 12-1; Pyle falls to 21-8-1.