It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Vitor Belfort deliver an impressive performance. His victory over Terry Martin at Affliction “Banned” may not have been as dominant or impressive as some of his wins in the past that gave him the nickname “The Phenom,” but it gave long-time Belfort fans a glimpse at what he once was, and could possibly be again.
By the end of the first round, it looked like we were getting the same Vitor that largely dropped him off most people’s radars the past few years. It turns out there’s a reasonable explanation though. Vitor broke his left hand with the first punch he threw.
XC: When did you break your hand?
Vitor: The first punch I threw. It was a straight left. I knew right away it broke. But I had to keep going. I couldn’t throw my combinations I had worked on. Coach Tompkins was yelling at me to throw my combos. At the end of the first round I went back to the corner and Tompkins was yelling at me, “Why don’t you throw your combos?” I said, “My hand is broken.” He said, “Ok” and Randy said, “Just go first. Go for it and finish the fight.”
I said to myself, “Ok, I’ll do that”. It was great chemistry in the corner. I went out and I did what they said. I was looking to land a big shot and get it over with. It’s my left hand, which is my power hand. I went out and threw the kick at Terry. When he caught my kick I let him take me down so I could soften him up with the elbows. I knew I could get back to my feet when I needed to. Then I set him up for the knee. After that I was able to pick his head up with the uppercut and end it with the straight left.
XC: Where is your hand broken?
Vitor: Two places. At the base of my thumb and at the base of the index finger. I don’t need surgery. The doctor says 4 weeks in the brace and then I will be OK.
So far, it looks like training at Xtreme Couture is paying off in spades for Vitor. According to Vitor, its a huge improvement over his former training camp, and not just because of the training alone.
XC: Is the training at Xtreme Couture similar to the training in Brazil?
Vitor: No. It is totally different. You have top level guys and a great facility at Xtreme Couture. There is a great buzz. Everyone has fights coming up and is working with each other. There is no politics. You just do your business in the gym and go home and rest. People aren’t worried about stealing a percentage from your purse or how they can get money out of you.
XC: Is there a lot of politics in Brazilian MMA?
Vitor: Yes. A lot. And a lot of crooks too.
XC: Is that why you left Brazilian Top Team?
Vitor: Things were wrong over there. I didn’t like what was left. It wasn’t right for me. So I decided to leave.
Money and politics are also believed to be the reason why Wanderlei Silva and ‘Shogun’ & ‘Ninja’ Rua left the Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil. Silva is also now training at Xtreme Couture.
Check out Vitor’s full interview at the Xtreme Couture Blog.