UFC 126 - Silva vs. Belfort
February 5, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
I'm super pumped for UFC 126. This is a stacked card with a great main event. A lot of questions are gonna be answered tonight & I can't wait.
UFC Middleweight Championship
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort - I'm not buying into Anderson Silva getting old and losing his touch. While I don't defend his actions, I feel against Cote, Leites & Maia he was not motivated & felt he outclassed these opponents. Against Sonnen, I don't even buy into the excuses that he had a rib injury. Anderson has always had defensive wrestling holes in his game (think Dan Henderson, Travis Lutter) & against a fighter with the relentless wrestling skills of Sonnen plus the fact that Chael was juiced up & shook off the strikes Anderson did land, he could not keep it standing. Anderson does not like Vitor & he's fired up.
Everyone talks about how good Vitor's boxing is but how many good strikers has Vitor beat? Wanderlei ( 1998), Gilbert Yvel, Rich Franklin. Vitor has never faced a quality striker like Anderson & come out the victor. When the chips are down Vitor folds. Belfort loses the big fights. Anderson wins them. If Vitor wins he will have to do it in the first round & I would be very, very shocked that he pulled it off. ANDERSON SILVA BY KO, RD. 1!!!!!
Forrest Griffin vs. Rich Franklin - I like this fight a lot. Two similarly styled veterans trying to stay relevant in a stacked 205lb division. Forrest is the bigger guy here so he might be able to bully Franklin. I think Franklin has a the weaker chin, but is slightly better in all technical aspects of the fight. Franklin has a very good striking game that only seems to have trouble with Southpaws. He throws better technique & volume than Forrest. I see a very close decision here with maybe some post-fight debate about who the true victor was. I imagine the winner of this one will go on to fight the winner of Bader/Jones in a title eliminator. I'll take Franklin by split decision.
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones - This is a great battle between two rising, young Light-Heavyweights. Even though he is winning fights, Bader has not impressed me so far. His best win is a decision victory over Lil' Nog & he didn't look great doing it. Bader hits hard, has good wrestling & slows down after the 5 minute mark. While you can get away with that against the Eric Shafer's & Keith Jardine's, I don't think that's gonna cut it against a phenom like Jones. Jones always brings the fight. He's continues to outwrestle good wrestlers & improve every time out. He uses his reach very well, has a variety of strikes to set up a variety of takedowns, & we all know he can throw big time elbows. We still have a lot of questions to be answered about Jones. What is his chin like if he gets hit? What's he look like off his back? If Bader can get inside on Jones' incredible 85" reach he could land a big shot. If Bader can put him down can Jones will have to fight from the guard for the first time. Jones is too fast, too conditioned, & too big for Bader. I'll take Jones by TKO, rd. 3.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha - Although he finished off Kris McCray with a kneebar in his UFC debut Rocha did not look very impressive leading up to it. While he sports an impressive 9-0 record Rocha has not faced tough competition. At the same time, Ellenberger has looked like a beast in every one of his UFC fights and is improving his game every time out & has faced very good welterweights. Could Rocha pull off some sort of leglock? Yes, but more than likely we're looking at Ellenberger stopping the Brazilian. Ellenberger by TKO, rd. 1.
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos - If Torres shows up looking like he did in his last fight against Charlie Valencia or the Manny Tapia fight, using his jab to keep distance he could definitely hurt Banuelos and maybe lock up a submission in a scramble. That's how I see it going down, Torres by submission, rd. 2.
Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa - While I'd like to see the Japanese fighter have success in the UFC in his second go-around I feel like Mendes is too tough a matchup for him. We're looking at Mendes getting top position and probably not doing too much with it. Mendes by decision.
Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson - I'm hoping to see an inspired 'Kid' Yamamoto in his Western debut. He may be past his prime but 'Kid' still has good enough wrestling to stop Johnson's takedowns & he still has big power. I won't be surprised if Johnson can, simply, outwork 'Kid' to a decision victory but I'm gonna go with what I want to happen, Yamamoto by TKO, rd. 2.
Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly - This is a bad style match up for Kelly. If Kelly gets his way he can look forward to getting Cerrone on his back and because of 'Cowboy's' length he won't be able to really land anything in guard and will probably get baited into a submission attempt. I think the best Kelly can hope for is if Cerrone indulges him enough to stand and bang shot for shot, which 'Cowboy' loves to do. I'm taking 'Cowboy' Cerrone by submission, maybe a triangle choke or kimura, rd. 1.
Mike Pierce vs. Kenny Robertson - I like Pierce pretty big in this fight. Pierce by TKO, rd. 1.
Paul Taylor vs. Gabe Ruediger - Gabe is really only still in the UFC because he did Dana & friends a favor by taking this fight on short notice, which will be what loses him the fight. Taylor is not 'walk-through' and Ruediger has conditioning problems as it is when he has a full training camp behind him. Taylor is a tough gatekeeper and Ruediger ain't getting in. Taylor by TKO, rd. 3.
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Ricardo Romero - Romero was very underwelming in his debut against Seth Petruzelli, while Kingsbury is a continually improving MMA fighter. I don't really know what to expect here but I'll bet on Romero learning from the Petruzelli fight and improving enough to take Kings bury to a decision. Romero by decision.