UFC 153: October 13, 2012 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil UFC Middleweight Contender Vitor Belfort (-205) Profile: The legendary Vitor Belfort (21-9) first made waves in the MMA world when the sport was still in its infancy. Making his UFC debut at 18 years old and in only his second career fight, Belfort went on to win the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament before his first loss was delivered to him by Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 15. Twenty fights later, including stints with Pride, Cage Rage, Affliction and Strikeforce, the 35-year-old Brazilian has come full circle and calls the UFC home once again. Belfort’s return fight was a memorable first-round TKO of Rich Franklin at UFC 103, which led to him earning a title shot against middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126. Despite suffering a first-round knockout to Silva by front kick and punches, he has since strung together two quick wins with a first-round KO of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 and a rear-naked choke submission victory against Anthony Johnson in front of a Brazilian crowd at UFC 142. Now he is positioning himself for yet another run at the title by facing rising middleweight contender Alan Belcher. UFC Middleweight Contender Alan Belcher (+165) Profile: Alan Belcher (18-6) is a Duke Roufus-trained middleweight who has had a rebirth of sorts, as it was just over two years ago when he began to lose vision in his right eye, threatening his fighting career in the process. After emergency surgery, the 28-year-old Belcher made nothing less than a miraculous recovery and was back in training a year later for his return UFC fight with Jason MacDonald, who suffered from a barrage of punches before verbally submitting at UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger. Belcher’s next opponent at UFC on FOX 3 was the fearsome ground specialist and fellow middleweight contender Rousimar Palhares, who was also handled with impressive ease via TKO in the first round. Now Belcher continues his climb to the top of the UFC middleweight division rankings against Vitor Belfort at UFC 153. Opening UFC 153 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Belfort a solid -205 favorite (bet $205 to win $100) against Belcher, who opened as a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165) according to the MMA odds. The real question that needs to be answered here is which of these two fighters is a legit contender and which is the pretender. While the opening odds certainly point in Belfort’s favor, Belcher is a very dangerous opponent that showed what he can do in his impressive victory against Palhares, who was definitely a step up in competition from his previous fight against MacDonald. Meanwhile, Belfort has done nothing to disappoint MMA bettors since losing to Silva with a pair of first-round stoppages against quality opponents, and he could state his case for a title rematch with a similar performance here.