Vitor Belfort won’t get a title shot in the immediate future.
His TKO victory of Michael Bisping in the second round of UFC on FX 7 on Saturday centrally made the Brazilian middleweight relevant again, so much so he wants to move up a weight class and take on Jon Jones at April’s UFC 159 — a fight where Chael Sonnen will challenge for the light heavyweight crown.
“I want to get that belt,” said Beflort, a former UFC champ who lost to Jones via a submission in September. “Take that punk, Chael Sonnen, I don’t even know your name, and get out. (UFC president) Dana (White) and (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo (Fertitta), kick him out. I want to fight Jon Jones. Take that clown away. Go home. Let me fight the champ. Champ vs. champ.”
Belfort looked much more impressive against Bisping, who — unlike Belfort — would have gotten a shot at the middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva with a victory. Belfort first stunned the boisterous Bisping late in the first round with a kick.
While time ran out before he could follow it up in the first, he unleashed a left kick to Bisping’s temple early in the second. The shot dropped Bisping and Belfort followed with a series of fists before the referee stopped the fight a minute, 27 seconds into the second round.
“You win some. You lose some,” Bisping said. “I am not going away. Trust me.”
The KO earned Belfort the $50,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus and his post-fight comments earned him the ire of Sonnen.
“Let me be really, really clear and speak directly to you, Vitor,” said Sonnen, a Fuel TV analyst. “You’re telling the world that you want to meet Jesus and I will gladly arrange that travel. First, I’m going to get rid of Jon Jones.
“Let me be clear: I accept. You called me out twice now.”
The rest of the main card did not disappoint.
In the opening fight on FX, Khabib Nurmagomedov made UFC fans (and UFC bloggers who didn’t want to have to type his name multiple times) very happy when he made short work of Thiago Tavares. Nurmagomedov caught Tavares with a deft punch, leveling the Brazilian to the canvas. He then pounced with a series of vicious elbows, forcing the fight to be stopped inside of two minutes of the first round.
The Brazilian crowd received a boon in the second bout when their countryman Gabriel Gonzaga kept the action rolling, defeating Ben Rothwell in two rounds. Gonzaga showed great versatility for a heavyweight, controlling the striking game and pressuring Rothwell with a series of takedowns. Gonzaga outworked Rothwell, to the delight of the crowd, sinking in a guillotine choke for the finish.
And Daniel Sarafian, who had to miss the finale of TUF Brazil due to injury, entered the Octagon and put on a showcase with fellow middleweight C.B. Dollaway that earned "Fight of the Night" honors. With the entire country firmly in his corner, Sarafian came out blazing, delivering combinations and a wicked overhand right that rocked Dollaway early and often.
It wasn’t until the middle of round two that Dollaway turned the tides, implementing a counter right that opened up his grappling game. With the fight spending more time on the ground, Dollaway dealt damage to Sarafian diminishing his stamina. This led to a gutsy third round where the fighters constantly flopped dominant position, leaving the judges in a quandary. In the end, the judges sided with Dollaway in a split decision that caused some of the loudest booing ever to drown out a post-fight interview.
FOXSports.com’s Eric Pierce contributed to this report.