KO of the Year: Silva vs. Belfort

Anderson Silva finishes Vitor Belfort. Photo by Tracy Lee/CombatLifestyle.com.

On February 5, 2011, Anderson Silva was supposed to have met his match.

A fellow Brazilian that was an explosive striker with knockout power, potentially faster on the feet, and a black belt in jiu-jitsu, Vitor Belfort posed the biggest threat that Silva had seen in a long time. Chael Sonnen would argue that, but we're talking about on pre-fight paper here.

It only took "The Spider" three and a half minute to put a stop to the hype.

With a move that his Blackhouse camp has credited to Steven Seagal, and that Lyoto Machida essentially copied against Randy Couture just over two months later, Silva blasted Belfort with a jumping front kick to the face in the first round of their UFC middleweight title bout at UFC 126.

It was a strike that Belfort never saw coming. "The Phenom" had done quite well for himself up until the final kick landed, holding his own with Silva and even connecting on a few punches. But at the 3:26 mark, Belfort found himself dazed and on the canvas.

Silva rushed in and followed up with a left and a right on the ground that put Belfort out for good. Just like Silva's elbow KO of Tony Fryklund prior to his arrival to the UFC, he once again showed us a finish that we hadn't really seen before.

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