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Vitor Belfort: “When I heard his arm pop, I let go a little…”

There’s no question legendary competitor Vitor Belfort came closer to beating UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones at UFC 152 than any other fighter had prior. Seconds after broadcasters questioned the likelihood of Belfort locking up a submission from the bottom, as if on queue, “The Phenom” secured an Armbar and put Jones in a very precarious situation.

However,  though Belfort came within inches of dethroning Jones, the 25-year old title-holder dug deep and eventually escaped the hold. As it turns out, he may have also been assisted by Belfort’s lack of bloodthirstiness.

“When I heard his arm pop, I let go a little and that is where he escaped,” admitted Belfort at the post-event press conference. “I made a mistake. He is a great fighter and I lost the opportunity.”

The show of compassion for Jones’ health ultimately cost Belfort a storybook moment, as “Bones” battled back to eventually score a submission of his own that would prove to be the end of the bout.

Regardless of the outcome, Belfort at least maintained his sense of humor about the situation, joking that Jones should have tapped when questions arose about the condition of the champion’s limb.

For the record, if Belfort had finished Jones with the Armbar it would have been his first submission using the technique since tapping out Joe Charles at UFC 15.5 in 1997.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC