Midway through the first round, it looked like Vitor Belfort was going to do the unthinkable. He secured a tight armbar on UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and was likely millimeters away from winning his first UFC belt in nearly a decade.
But Jones escaped, and Belfort never came close to victory again.
After escaping Belfort’s armbar, the champion punished him with elbows, turning the UFC veteran into a bloody mess. Belfort survived the assault, but from that point forward, the fight belonged to Jones.
Though Belfort was able to slip many of his punches through, he never seemed comfortable on his feet with Jones. Throughout the fight, he would make the questionable decision to pull guard, giving Jones an opportunity to deliver more ground-and-pound without truly seizing his own opportunity for another submission attempt.
Eventually, that strategy completely backfired. As Belfort pulled Jones to the ground in the fourth round, the champion moved to side control. From there, he teased working for a mounted crucifix before settling on an Americana attempt that quickly drew a tap from Belfort.
In his post-fight interview, Belfort seemed to at least partially attribute his decision to pull guard on a pre-fight rib injury, which was aggravated by Jones’ effective use of the sidekick.
Jon Jones b. Vitor Belfort via submission (Americana) at :54 of Round Four