UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort Preview
There is one thing you can count with UFC 126 taking place this Saturday February 5th, we won’t have to wait till the Super Bowl this Sunday for explosive, fast hitting action. More than enough of that will be on display at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. With a great fight card on tap from top to bottom, one has to look no further than the main event to get what they’re looking for.
UFC Middleweight (185 lbs.) Champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva (27-4, 15 KO’s 5 subs) will defend his title against the one man who may actually have faster hands than he does, Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort (19-8, 13 KO’s 2 subs). Silva, arguably the number one pound for pound fighter in the world, is an extremely well rounded fighter who loves to display his hands and box. He should get his opportunity against Belfort, who is so talented at boxing, at 19 years old in 1996 he was considered for the Brazilian Olympic team.
He chose mixed martial arts instead and back then when he debuted at UFC 12, nearly 14 years to the day on February 7, 1997, it took him exactly two minutes to knockout two opponents in one night; thus the nickname bestowed upon him, ‘The Phenom’. The buzz around Belfort grew quick and while he won more than he lost over the next few years, most of the buzz was about how he never really reached his potential. Now 33, Belfort is a lot more mature, reborn again spiritually and riding a five-fight win streak. Problem is, his last fight was nearly a year and half-ago due to injury.
That inactivity is the deciding factor and main reason why I am choosing Silva to win this fight. The champion, who is (12-0) since arriving in the UFC in 2006, has proven himself time and time again in every facet of the game. Never was that more evident than in his last defense in August 2010 against Chael Sonnen. Totally dominated and swarmed by Sonnen’s superior wrestling for 23 minutes of a 25 minute fight, ‘The Spider’ showed the heart, will and skill of a champion when he caught Sonnen with a triangle choke submission with less than two minutes left in the fight. Thus, I see Silva winning an exciting stand-up clash via TKO around the third or fourth round.
The co-main event features a battle of two former champions as former light heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion Forrest Griffin (17-6, 3 KO’s 7 subs) takes on former middleweight champion Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin (28-5, 15 KO’s 10 subs) who is now competing at light-heavyweight. There is a lot of irony when it comes to these two and the participants in the main event. They both have the distinction of being knocked out by Silva, Franklin twice. Franklin was also the victim in Belfort’s last fight, though he has bounced back with a KO win last summer against Chuck Liddell. Meanwhile Griffin’s last fight, like Belfort, was in 2009 due to injury.
Once again, it is that injury lay-off, along with Franklin’s overall experience, as to why I am giving him the nod here against Griffin in a three round decision. There is cause for concern here considering that Franklin has shown a suspect chin and Griffin hits like a mule; also, at 36 years old, he is five years Griffin’s elder. However, Griffin who has had a tendency to get fat and lazy in between fights, has had a long time to do a lot of both, while Franklin has always been a true professional when it comes to his diet and training. So, as previously stated Franklin by decision.
The other fantastic fight featured here is also at 205 lbs. and it is between up and coming stars Jon ‘Bones’ Jones (11-1, 7 KO’s 2 subs) and Ryan ‘Darth’ Bader (12-0, 5 KO’s 3 subs). So, we have a championship bout, a fight between two former champions and this fight, which could possibly be between two future champions. Jones has been virtually flawless since coming to the UFC. His only loss was a technical disqualification in a fight against Matt Hamill, which he was thoroughly dominating. Had it not been for a questionable elbow strike, he’d also be undefeated right now.
Bader meanwhile, is a former All-American wrestler from Arizona State University and former alumni of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality series. (5-0) Since coming to the UFC, he’s coming off a huge decision victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Jones is also coming off a victory over a MMA veteran as he decimated accomplished wrestler Vladimir Matyushenko in less than two minutes back in August 2010. Only because Jones has shown he can win against wrestlers such as Hamill and Matyushenko, I am taking him to be victorious here and hand Bader his first loss.
The first fight on the main card is in the bantamweight (135 lbs.) weight class and it pits two holdovers from the World Extreme Cagefighting merger. Former WEC champion Miguel Torres (38-3 9 KO’s 23 subs) takes on Antonio Banuelos (18-6, 7 KO’s 1 sub) in a “Rock’em/Sock ‘em Robots” type standoff that should be quite entertaining. Both coming off wins back in September 2010, I am picking Torres to finish Banuelos via submission before the three rounds are up. Who’s looking towards football on Sunday with a card like this? Is it Saturday yet?
Posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 in .
Share your thoughts: use your existing Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo account.