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Belfort exclusive: ‘Akiyama knockout wasn’t by illegal blows’

Coming off an impressive first round finish of Japan’s Yoshihiro Akiyama this past Saturday in Philadelphia, Vitor Belfort (20-9) looks to return to title contention shortly. Belfort talked with on his recent fight camp and on the controversy of possible illegal strikes to the back of the head at UFC 133 that may have ended the fight.
We hear you added gymnastic training to your regiment in your last camp. Who or What led you to implementing this type of cross-training and do you think it made a big improvement in your last fight?

Vitor Belfort:
“In 1997 I met Professor Alvaro Romano who developed the method ‘natural gymnastic.’  A unique and very fundamental work on my breathing, mobility, flexibility, strength and agility. When I fought Wanderlei I was training with Alvaro every day and the results showed. I stopped for some time, but now Im  back [training with Alvaro] and wont stop again.”
There has been some controversy that your finish of Akiyama may have included illegal strikes to the back of the head towards the end of the fight. Do you feel that it’s possible that there may have been some unintended strikes?

Vitor Belfort:
“In the heat of the fight maybe a strike can go to the wrong spot, but in this fight [with Akiyama] it wasn’t the case for the knock out. The referee was very close watching everything. Looking back it was only one strike to the back of the head, the other was on the side. Its a fight and things like this happen sometimes unintentionally.”
Many have been saying, ‘Vintage Vitor‘ is back as your fight with Akiyama was reminiscent of your finish of Wanderlei Silva. Should you get the Anderson Silva rematch, do you think you would come out ‘Vintage Vitor’ as you did with Akiyama?

Vitor Belfort:
The truth is the Vintage Vitor never left. If you look at my record, I won 4 of my last five fights by KO and was knocked out once. I’ve had some ups and downs in my personal life but I have overcame them . I think God puts people together for a purpose. I’m focused on God, my Family and my Career right now. I would love to have a rematch against Anderson, but this decision doesn’t belong to me. I will just get myself ready for my next opponent. I work for the UFC and whoever they say I fight I will.
You were very vocal in your desire to be on the UFC Rio card. Unfortunately timing didn’t work out this time around. Do you foresee the UFC returning to Brazil in the near future for you to compete in and if so when?

Vitor Belfort:
“Yes I would love to fight in my country. I’m ready for the call anytime now.”

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