Vitor Belfort's controversial and rollercoaster career came to a close at UFC 224 in truly brutal fashion.
After months of trying to secure a retirement fight, Belfort squared off with fellow Brazilian and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida on Saturday night. Unfortunately for Belfort, it ended with him leaving his gloves in the cage after a brutal knockout loss.
An uneventful first round was met with a stark contrast in the second when Machida lulled his opponent into a rhythm before securing a vicious front kick that knocked Belfort out. Machida didn't follow up. He didn't chase Belfort -- he knew. "The Dragon" instead simply bowed to his nemesis, and paid homage to a career coming to a close.
In the cage after waking up, Belfort confirmed his career had ended, and said it was time for him to take care of his family. He thanked Tristar, the fans and the UFC.
Belfort's career ends after 41 documented fights, although many more undocumented fights are likely to have happened. He captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in controversial fashion in 2004 when part of his glove caught Randy Couture's eye, leading to a doctor stoppage. He would go on to beat Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson and others.
Nicknamed “The Phenom,” Belfort's career is heavily tainted by the suspicion that he used performance enhancing drugs. Vitor openly used testosterone replacement therapy before it was banned from use in competition, and saw a steep decline in his career as a result.
Now at the end of his career, Belfort made his presence felt in the UFC, Strikeforce, PRIDE, Affliction, and other promotions throughout his career.
After the bout, Lyoto Machida called out Michael Bisping, who is also planning to retire from the UFC.
You can see our full, live UFC 224 coverage at this link, and join in on our post-show podcast, which airs live right after the PPV.