Two former UFC champions will meet inside the octagon for the very first time on May 12. Former UFC light heavyweight champions Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida will come together at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The middleweight matchup is currently scheduled to open up the night’s pay-per-view portion of the UFC 224 fight card.
The 41-year old Belfort has been part of some of the most memorable fights in the UFC organization’s history. The Brazilian mixed martial artist burst on to the scene at UFC 12 on February 7, 1997. The then 19-year old fighter would become the youngest fighter to win a fight with the organization at the time. That night he won the UFC heavyweight tournament title after defeating both Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo. 21-years later, Belfort is still as dangerous as he was long ago. He has fought for multiple UFC titles along the way to include winning the light heavyweight title from Randy Couture at UFC 46, 14 years ago.
The 39-year old Machida has almost a decade less professional MMA experience as Belfort, but has almost as many fights on his record. The two standouts of the sport have faced some of the same opponents to include Randy Couture, Chris Weidman, Jon Jones, and Dan Henderson.
If you want to bet on UFC 224 and the Belfort-Machida matchup, the payouts could prove to be plentiful, but how do you decide who has the upper hand at this pivotal point in the careers of both combatants?
Both competitors are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts and both hold unbelievable knockout power, but both are at a crossroads in their careers and are in desperate need of a win. Belfort is coming off a decisive win over Nate Marquardt but prior to his most recent victory he dropped three straight to Kelvin Gastelum, Gegard Mousasi, and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
Machida is an eerily similar situation. He earned a decision win over Eryk Anders in February but also saw three consecutive losses prior to that. “The Dragon” succumbed to likes of Derek Brunson, Yoel Romero, and Luke Rockhold.
Both competitors have had compliance issues with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s stringent policies which may have harmed their public image, putting their legendary careers into question. Belfort has often at the receiving end of questions concerning his retirement from MMA. What else does he have to fight for? Each time we think he is walking away, another fight is lined up.
UFC 224 is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title bout between champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Raquel Pennington.
UFC 224 fight card:
Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington
Ronaldo Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper
John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher
Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida
Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson
Alexey Oleynik vs. Junior Albini
Davi Ramos vs. Nick Hein
Elizeu Zaleski vs. Sean Strickland
Warlley Alves vs. Sultan Aliev
Thales Leites vs. Jack Hermansson
Alberto Mina vs. Ramazan Emeev
Markus Perez vs. James Bochnovic
How sports betting works
Understanding how UFC betting odds work is really not as complicated as it may seem at first. When you bet on UFC you are basically looking at money lines that will favor one of two fighters who are going to face each other. One of the fighters may be at for example -240 while the other one at for instance +200. What this actually means in plain English is that you would be risking $240 to win $100 if you bet on the favorite. The favorite would be the one with the minus sign, while the one with the plus sign would be the underdog.