I’m sure you all remember Vintage Vitor Belfort. Excuse me, that’s “Victor” for all you ‘90s UFC fans. Questionable substances aside, the man knew how to put on a show through his own brand of unrelenting violence.
If you ask me which one of Belfort’s pre-USADA fights stands out, it’ll always be the first UFC event in Brazil (a.k.a UFC 17.5) in 1998. It was when the 21-year-old “Phenom” took out a fellow lethal finisher in the form of a 22-year-old Wanderlei Silva.
There are so many notable mentions in this clip to signify the UFC’s toddler years: Mike Goldberg’s higher-pitched voice, Bruce Buffer’s minimalist suit, shirtless dudes in the crowd, a baby-faced Big John McCarthy.
As for the fight itself, it was Belfort in wrestling shoes and devoid of a kicking game. But that didn’t matter because he did have “the most lethal hands in UFC history,” which wasn’t very far off at the time.
Vitor absorbed one hard leg kick from Wanderlei. And as soon as he found the opening for the counter, he just let his hands go like a deranged Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot. The fight ended in 44 seconds before Silva could even process what just happened.
These days, the 43-year-old Belfort is still going, having signed with ONE Championship in 2019. And with a new ruleset and fewer restrictions to worry about, we’ll probably see a resurgence of Vintage Vitor in some form.
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