The UFC sounded its bell for the New Year this past Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping show as the first sports betting event of 2013. While CB Dollaway and Godofredo Castro managed to slip through with split decision wins over Daniel Sarafian and Milton Vieira respectively, it was the three big winners on the main card that left the strongest impression. Vitor Belfort, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Khabib Nurmagomedov all scored wins via knockout or submission at the UFC on FX 7 event, and none has done more to shake things up than Belfort’s in the UFC middleweight division.
On the heels of a win over Brian Stann, many online sportsbook players figured that Michael Bisping would be among those next in line to get a shot at UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva with a win in the main event at the UFC on FX 7 event. However, Bisping was thoroughly dominated by the Brazilian Belfort, making the middleweight title picture that much more unclear. Belfort challenged Silva for the title back in February of 2011 and was knocked out within the first four minutes of action, but he thoroughly dominated Bisping with a flurry of punches and kicks, earning a Knockout of the Night bonus for his efforts. Whether or not this victory is enough to put him back in the title picture after failing when he challenged Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight belt just a year ago is a major question mark, and it’s likely Belfort still hasn’t proven enough yet in that regard following his return to the division.
While it may not have been as appealing to online betting fans at first glance, Gonzaga’s submission-win over Ben Rothwell was just as impressive. Watching video of the fight again, you can actually point out the moment where the Brazilian looks up to the video screen to see if he is in position to make his move, then spring out of the guard to lock in the guillotine choke on Rothwell. After withstanding the first round, Rothwell had no choice but to tap after the choke was applied, with a third-straight win putting Gonzaga back on the map in the UFC heavyweight division.
The fighter that perhaps put himself in the best position to challenge for a title at the UFC on FX 7 event is Khabib Nurmagomedov, who remained undefeated with his third-straight win in the promotion and 18th-straight overall. Nurmagomedov absolutely buried the hometown favorite Thiago Tavares with a flurry of elbows just under two minutes in to the online sports betting bout, and has to be on the radar of UFC President Dana White after that performance. With so much talent in the lightweight division at this point it is difficult to judge where Nurmagomedov stands, but he is definitely in line to face tougher competition in his next bout. For all of the latest UFC news and betting odds for upcoming events, be sure to check out the best sports betting sites.