Vitor Belfort’s head coach Derik Santos admits he’s unsure what to expect when the former UFC star takes on Evander Holyfield in front of 7,000 fans at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood on Saturday night.
Triller boss Ryan Kavanaugh drafted in Holyfield to face the Brazilian after Oscar De La Hoya was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Santos had been training Belfort for the original scheduled bout with De La Hoya.
And while Santos is confident in Belfort’s ability, he acknowledged ‘The Real Deal’ understandably presents a far ‘bigger’ challenge than the ‘Golden Boy’ of boxing, primarily due to his sheer size and strength.
“As far as Holyfield goes, his was a name that was thrown around before,” Santos told Vegas Insider.
“He was an option for Vitor before. And he’s a big man, he is a very big man.
“Over the last couple of years I actually befriended him. He’s a good guy. I’ve always had great respect and admiration for him.
“We go from one hall of famer to literally and figuratively a bigger hall of famer. So it’s a challenge for sure and Holyfield has done a great job keeping himself in shape.
“I’ve marvelled at the shape he’s in. I’ve been to his residence. He eats healthy. He’s not one of those who lays around eating McDonalds. He’s always been a healthy individual.”
Santos also disclosed that he doesn’t know what to expect from Holyfield.
‘The Warrior’, as the Hall of Famer is also known as, hasn’t been in the ring since he knocked out Brian Nielsen in the tenth round in May 2011.
“I don’t really know what to expect,” he added.
“I’ve seen videos of him training with John David Jackson. I know he has been training, I know he has been working out and looking for a fight.
“It’s going to be interesting, it’s a different type of fight to Oscar. He’s much bigger than Vitor. Not only height but bodywise.
“The main difference is Oscar is more mobile and we were expecting a different type of movement.
“We had worked on different ways to cut off the ring. With Holyfield it’s going to be more of a dangerous, straight up fight.
“He’s a large man, I’m sure he can still punch. So we’ll see how we go about dealing with that.
“Vitor was already down in weight, and the great Evander Holyfield, I guarantee you, will likely be somewhere between 225-240 pounds – that’s a big difference.
“Vitor was under the 200 pound limit already, as the fight with Oscar was going to be 185 pounds. So we are already in the 190s.
“Vitor is excited to fight a hall of famer, Vitor says let’s fight, that’s his take. He’s ready, willing and able.
“As a coach I’m a little more stoic. Even my thought process of how to fight Evander Holyfield – that plan hasn’t altogether unfolded in my head yet.”