UFC 126: Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
UFC 126 came right smack in the middle of Anderson Silva’s incredible UFC title reign. In his division was a fellow Brazilian and someone Silva was very much familiar with in Vitor Belfort. The two had spent time in the gym together in previous years, but leading into the fight, Belfort went out of his way to take a shot at the champ, which in hindsight wasn’t a very good idea. Belfort stated that Silva was “fake” and that he “wears a mask” in front of the public in an effort to hide his true self. It wasn’t a dig at Silva the fighter, but a dig at Silva the person, ehich did not sit well with the middlewight champion. Safe to say Silva heard the message from Belfort, and it turned out to make for the best weigh-in scene in UFC history.
When both fighters got face to face on stage the mind games began. Silva pulled out a mask, put it on over his face, and squared up, forehead to forehead with Belfort. You could feel the tension between the two even through a computer screen at home. That wasn’t a moment you had to be there for, anyone and everyone who watched that weigh-in knew that there was true animosity there. Silva got the message loud and clear from his fellow countryman, and he caught Belfort off guard with his reaction. Belfort seemed to be very taken back by the scene and by Silva who in his own right is fantastic at the mental aspect of the MMA game. Silva went out of his way to embarrass Belfort on the weigh-in stage for what he perceived as disrespectful, and he didn’t plan to stop there. The weigh-in served as just a pre cursor because at UFC 126, Silva planted the ball of his foot right into the face of Belfort to embarrass him on a national stage one last time. It is one of the most iconic finishes in UFC history, and it will always go hand and hand with the image of Silva in his mask at the weigh-ins.
UFC International Fight Week 2019 takes place the week of July 3-7 in Las Vegas, NV and plays host to UFC 239 which takes place on Saturday, July 6, 2019, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV