In a Middleweight fight at UFC on Fox 3, top 20 fighters Alan Belcher and Rousimar Palhares faced off. After a thrilling first round of ground action, it was UFC veteran Belcher who reigned supreme, defeating Palhares via TKO late in the first round. Belcher won the fight with ground and pound strikes. He is now 9-4 in the UFC and calling for a title shot. Palhares drops to 7-3 in the UFC.
Heading into the fight, the common thought was that Belcher needed to desperately avoid the deadly ground game of Palhares. Instead, Belcher took the fight to Palhares on the mat, looking to submit the Brazilian with a twister and brilliantly avoiding Palhares's notoriously nasty leglocks. After an intense back and forth on the ground, Belcher was able to take top position and bring down the punches until the fight was stopped. Easily the biggest win of Belcher's career, especially coming after would could have been a career derailing injury and layoff.
What was the high spot of this fight?
That leglock battle was awesome. Knowing how scary Palhares is with legs, it was a nail-biting experience watching him work over Belcher's leg. Joe Rogan was screaming for Belcher to get out of there, but it turned out he didn't need to.
Where do these guys go from here?
Post-fight, Belcher made a call for the title, but he's not there just yet. Still, he does deserve a real contender next time out. The division is pretty busy at the moment, but I'd say his best bets are either the winner of Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva, or Jason Miller, should Mayhem defeat CB Dollaway at UFC 146.
This is a real setback for Palhares. He needs to take a leg home next time out to regain his fearsome reputation. There are plenty of options for him, but I'd like to see him against the loser of that Mayhem vs. Dollaway fight.
Watch it now, later or never?
Now. Great, great ground battle here, and a spectacular win for Belcher.
More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC on Fox 3 in the full entry.