UFC FX 8On Saturday May 18, the UFC presents “UFC on FX 8 – Belfort vs. Rockhold” live from the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The main card for the event will be televised on FX at 9pm ET, while the preliminary bouts will be shown on FUEL TV and Facebook beginning at 4:30pm ET.

The main event of the evening is a middleweight bout between Luke Rockhold and “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort with the winner unofficially earning a future title shot against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. However, there are many who are apprehensive in wanting to see a second fight between SIlva and Belfort due to Anderson’s convincing knockout of Belfort the first time they met.

Rockhold was the last Strikeforce middleweight champion before the company was purchased by the UFC. He’s a solid fighter who has all the tangibles needed to defeat Belfort. Luke is younger, has more stamina and is tough enough to keep on the offense against Vitor.

However, even if Rockhold can come out victorious, and earn the biggest win of his career, he might still have to fight one more time before stepping into the Octagon against “The Spider” Anderson Silva. In fact, the man he could face for the middleweight #1 contender spot is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza who’s in the semi-main event of the evening. Souza is the favorite to win his fight against Chris Camozzi who stepped in late for the injured Constantinos Philippou. Camozzi has won four straight fights but is considered out of his league in this bout.

Long time Strikeforce fans  will remember that Rockhold defeated Souza in September of 2011 via unanimous decision to earn the Strikeforce middleweight title. Luke would go on to win his next two fights over Keith Jardine and equally as tough Tim Kennedy. However, he hasn’t fought since mid-July of last year and has arguably one of the toughest fights for a UFC debut in recent memory. Since their fight, Souza has won 3 times and will most likely force the UFC to pair him with Rockhold for a fight with the winner taking on Silva.

The other two bouts on the event’s main card are: dos Anjos vs. Dunham and Natal vs. Zeferino. Dunham vs. dos Anjos is a lightweight battle of two fighters looking to climb up the ladder and get into title contention. This fight was requested by Dunham but not because he thinks that he will easily win. The bout is expected to be an equally contested fight with Dunham having the edge if it turns into a war.

Natal is the favorite for this fight but not by much. Both he and Zeferino are out to prove they belong in the UFC. In Zeferino’s case, he has never fought anyone to the level of competition that he’s seeing on Saturday night. Natal, who is the brighter prospect of the two, has yet to really blaze a trail in the middleweight division.

There will be 9 fights on the preliminary card with two fighters in particular who are looking to get back on track and earn another chance at main card fights. Both Nik Lents and Paulo Thiago are veterans of the octagon and they are looking to win decisively in their respective fights, which will both be shown live on FUEL TV.

 PRELIMINARY CARD (FUEL TV, 6 pm ET)

  • Hacran Dias vs. Nik Lentz
  • Mike Rio vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • John Cholish vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Michel Prazeres vs. Paulo Thiago
  • Yuri Alcantara vs. Iliarde Santos
  • Roger Hollett vs. Fabio Maldonado

PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 4:30pm ET)

  • Azamat Gashimov vs. John Lineker
  • Chris Cariaso vs. Jussier Formiga
  • Jeremy Larsen vs. Lucas Martins