Well, UFC 126 is shaping up to be a really great night of fighting. I wasn’t too excited and then began breaking down the card. I am now really pumped for this night.
UFC Middleweight Championship bout: Anderson Silva (27-4) (c) vs. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
The Spider. With respect to GSP, Silva is the greatest fighter of this generation. 7 title defenses in a row. That is completely unprecedented. He’s the Tiger Woods, the Michael Phelps, the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He’s our shining star. Facing him is a well-traveled veteran. Belfort fought at UFC 12. Yes, I typed that right. Looking at his wins is like a “Who’s who?” of MMA history: Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture & Rich Franklin. In all fairness, so are his losses: Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture & Tito Ortiz. I WANT to see Belfort win. I’m the guy who cheers against Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning & Sidney Crosby, just because they’re good. But I don’t know that Vitor will be able to crush The Spider.
Light Heavyweight bout: Forrest Griffin (17-6) vs. Rich Franklin (28-5, 1 NC)
I don’t think I overshoot their importance in this industry to say these two are living legends. Franklin, former Middleweight Champion, versus Griffin, former Light Heavyweight Champion and winner of the first Ultimate Fighter. This is the Clash of the Titans, but no Harry Hamlin chin or Liam Neeson yelling “Release the Kraken.” I’m not really sure how to pick a winner here. I’m not even sure who I’ll be rooting for. Magic 8 Ball says…
Light Heavyweight bout: Jon Jones (11-1) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0)
There are not two fighters more alike. (Ok, maybe the Nogueira twins.) Don’t let that 1 loss fool you. It came from downward illegal elbows. Not since “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes has a man’s elbows been so lethal. Jones is completely lethal. Facing him is former Arizona State All-American wrestler Ryan Bader. Both of these fighters are so deep and can end you so many ways. My home is Team Bader (under threat of my wife), but my gut tells me Jones wins.
Welterweight bout: Jake Ellenberger (23-5) vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0)
For lack of a better term, it looks like Ellenberger is a stepping stone here. Rocha has made it to the second round once. The guy has submitted his eight opponents with six different moves. Ellenberger is still nothing to laugh at. Two wins in a row against John Howard & Mike Pyle. Ellenberger is my upset watch, but I’m going with Rocha.
Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres (38-3) vs. Antonio Banuelos (18-6)
Banuelos is on more of a momentum recently with 4 of his last 5. Torres has only 3 wins. What excites me about this fight is that Torres has NEVER gone to a decision. Banuelos has, but Torres seems to be a finisher. Looking at the numbers, how do you not like Torres?