In a Middleweight contest at UFC on Fox 3, it will be leglock master Rousimar Palhares (14-3; 7-2 UFC) facing Alan Belcher (17-6; 8-4 UFC). This is the second of four bouts on the Fox card. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, have Palhares as the #16 Middleweight in the world, and Belcher one spot below at #17. The Fox card begins Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, with prelims starting at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT on Fuel TV.
This is the kind of fight where you really know what to expect from each man. Palhares is known for his nasty leglock submissions. You can expect him to try and get Belcher down, grab a leg, and pull. But Belcher is a veteran who will look to use his experience to avoid Palhares's game. Which strategy will prevail in this Middleweight clash?
How do these two stack up?
Palhares: 32 years old | 5'8" | 71" reach
Belcher: 28 years old | 6'2" | 75" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares has become quite a cult favorite among hardcore MMA fans, partly for his brutal submission skill, and partly for his wild behavior. With Palhares, there's always the chance for something just plain weird to happen, such as his premature celebration against Dan Miller, or his odd fight with Nate Marquardt. A student of former UFC champion Murilo Bustamante, Palhares is a throwback fighter in that he has one specific specialty - the leglock - but it's a specialty that he is incredibly skilled at using. In the UFC, he has used his submission skills to put together a strong 7-2 record, with his only losses coming against top contenders Marquardt and Dan Henderson. If he wins here, can a Toquinho #1 contender fight be far away?
Alan "The Talent" Belcher is an 8 year veteran of the sport who made his UFC debut way back at UFC 62 in 2006. At one time, he was seen by some as a possible title contender to Anderson Silva, but injuries have really slowed his career lately. This is only his second fight in the past two years as he spent a lot of time sidelined with an eye injury. Just looking at Belcher's recent wins above, he seems like a fighter from a different era in the UFC - MacDonald, Cote, Gouveia... these are names that just don't seem to fit in the current UFC landscape. Of everyone on the main card, I would argue no one needs a win as badly as Belcher. A loss here will almost surely send him to a meaningless prelim where he'll be fighting for his job.
Why should you care?
For the crazy Toquinho factor, plain and simple. The guy is a total wild card - a reminder of the days when fights could end in brawls or weird No Contests or mangled limbs. You just never know what will happen when he fights, and that's a great feeling. Plus, you'll get to see Belcher's horrid Johnny Cash tattoo once again, and you know you've missed that.
More UFC on Fox 3 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.