Friday, February 4, 2011

UFC 126: Silva/Belfort

The time has come. Tomorrow night's Main card contains some of the more well-known and exciting fighters in the UFC. Silva, Belfort, Franklin, Griffin, and Jones were all the Main event in their most recent outing. With star power alone, this is one of the best cards ever. I know I say it a lot but it's not my fault it just keeps getting better and better.

For the Main Event, it's a battle for the UFC Middleweight Belt, as legendary striker Anderson "The Spider" Silva takes on the fastest hands in MMA, Vitor Belfort. Silva has taken to toying with his opponents as of late, with Sonnen being the exception, but I don't think we'll see that tomorrow. Aside from Anderson and Machida, Belfort is the only other guy to have TKOed Rich Franklin. He goes out, windmills fast, powerful punches and usually, that gets him a 1st round finish. Both Silva and Belfort are fast. Belfort is powerful. Silva is accurate. Belfort is one of the strikers around but tomorrow night, we are going to see the Silva of old, the Silva who destroyed Leben Franklin twice, Marquadt, and Henderson, super serious and deadly. Both fighters are known for fast finishes, but this might just be a Machida/Shogun I all over, with two elite strikers going at it for 5 rounds. People love KOs. I hope it's a 5 rounder.

For the Co-Main Event, Rich Franklin takes on his slightly larger replica in Forrest Griffin. Both are good at everything but prefer to circle around and pepper their opponents with well placed punches and kicks. Forrest has the size advantage but Franklin is the more powerful puncher and in such an evenly matched fight, that power is going to be crucial. It's more than likely going to be an action packed decision with Franklin as the victor.

For what could've been a Main Event on any other night, Jon Jones takes on Ryan Bader in a fight between prospects to see who goes up to possible contendership and who has to keep racking up wins with the rest of the middle of the pack. On paper, Bader is the better wrestler but so was Matt Hammill and Jones still grabbed and rag dolled him just like everyone else. Striking wise, neither is crazy accurate. Bader has power and he's gotten good at landing that one good shot but Jones' unorthodox style, all the spinning elbows, backfists, and kicks, might throw him off. Bader hasn't been as dominant against his opposition as Jones has but that might just be because Bader has been facing the better competition. Jones says he wants to prove he's the better wrestler. The credentials say he can't. His last couple if fights say he can. Either the fight is evenly contested both standing and on the ground, or Jones does what he usually does and steamrolls through Bader. Either way, I see Jones' as the eventual winner but for the sake of my favorite division, I hope he doesn't do it as easily or impressively as he usually does.

Other notables on the card are Miguel Torres, who used to be in the 'pound for pound best' talk. Expect him to impress in his UFC debut. Jake Ellenberger also fights on the main card. He was originally scheduled to fight top contender Jon Fitch but BJ Penn stole his opponent. Tomorrow night, he racks up another win on his way to the top.

Just like every other event, tomorrow's is a can't miss. No matter how the fights go, they will shake up their respective divisions. I expect to have 'Main-Event jitters' from the moment the lights dim and Bader's song of choice starts until the moment the Middleweight belt is put around a Brazilian's waist.

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