Statements and staredowns: check out the best of the lead-up to UFC 133

Tito in photo by Josh Hedges

Today it’s Philadelphia’s turn to host the Ultimate Fighting Championships, and the headlining fights promise fireworks.

In the co-main event, Vitor Belfort takes on Yoshihiro Akiyama. It will be the black belt’s first appearance since losing to Anderson Silva last February, when he had his shot at the promotional middleweight belt.

“He’s a tough fighter, very experienced, can take a lot of heat, strike, and he’s dynamic. By my mind is readier than ever. I’m so strong no one can stop me. I’m focused on what I have to do to win, and I’m looking to put him away. That’s how I’ll be when I step into the octagon, looking to put him away,” guarantees the “Phenomenon”.

Akiyama, on his part, avoids making any strong statements but promises victory.

“I feel Mr. Belfort is very strong, a perfect fighter, and he’s currently one of my heroes, but I’ve progressed a lot in my striking thanks to lots of practice and experience,” he says.

Could we have a standup war in store for us?

Now in the main event of the evening, Tito Ortiz will be back in a little over a month since his last appearance, facing also-ex champ Rashad Evans. Shold he win, Tito will again figure at the top of the light heavyweight division, following the worst slump of his career, where he went five fights without a win. And the “Bad Boy” looks to be up to the task.

“In boxing they had Muhammad Ali, Pro-Wrestling had Hulk Hogan, and MMA has Tito Ortiz,” he asserts.

Watch some of the highlights from the weigh-ins and check out the photos by Josh Hedges below:

[flickr set= 72157627369169300/]

Check out the complete card:

UFC 133
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
August 6, 2011

Rashad Evans vs Tito Ortiz
Vitor Belfort vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
Dennis Hallman vs Brian Ebersole
Jorge Rivera vs Costantinos Philippou
Rory MacDonald vs Mike Pyle
Matt Hamill vs Alexander Gustafsson
Chad Mendes vs Rani Yahya
Ivan Menjivar vs Nick Pace
Johny Hendricks vs Mike Pierce
Mike Brown vs Nam Phan
Rafael “Sapo” Natal vs Paul Bradley

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