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Uncaged: it’s Silva versus Belfort at UFC 126

The UFC looks to kick off a bumper weekend of sport stateside with a heavily-stacked card.

Image: UFC

THE UFC RETURNS to our screens this weekend via a sell-out event at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas.

One of the most stacked cards in recent memory includes a middleweight championship bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, a first look at WEC stars Miguel Torres and Antonio Banuelos in the UFC as well as a matchup between two crowd favourites in Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin. It promises to be an explosive start to a great weekend of American sports.

The main event of the evening sees Anderson “The Spider” Silva take on Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort as Silva looks to defend his Middleweight title for a record eighth successive time.

Despite a record of 12-0 in the UFC, Anderson stock has fallen slightly after narrowly beating Chael Sonnen via a final round triangle submission at UFC 117. He was caught more in that fight than his whole previous eleven bouts put together and his aura of invincibility also took a hit.

Belfort is coming off the back of a five fight win streak, knocking out Terry Martin, Matt Lindland, and Rich Franklin in his last three contests.  This all Brazilian bout is worthy of headlining this stacked event however, and it will be interesting to see if “The Spider” is back to one hundred percent or if “The Phenom” can finally live up to all the hype.

Following on from their success at the last event, the UFC and Facebook are teaming up again to stream live the introduction of Japanese phenomenon Kid Yamamoto as he takes on Demetrious Johnson.

With a four-second knockout on his record and looking to convince fans he still as something to offer coming off the back of a number of injuries, I fancy The Kid to have too much for Johnson, despite his impressive 8-1 record.

The fruits of the merger between the WEC and the UFC are beginning to show now with a first look at Miguel Torres and Antonio Banuelos for UFC fans. The former WEC Bantamweight Champion Torres will have a six inch height advantage over the diminutive dynamo Banuelos , but will have to be at his very best as he tries to restore his fearsome reputation after suffering shock defeats to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez in two of his last three fights.


Elsewhere unbeaten BJJ black belt Carlos Rocha takes on “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger with the latter looking to back up his call out to John Fitch with a win over the dangerous Brazilian who fights out of Germany.  With eight of his nine wins coming by way of submission, Ellenberger must be wary of Rocha, and backup his self confidence with a strong performance in the Octagon.

Jon “Bones” Jones looks to continue his march towards the top of the light heavyweight division in a well matched fight with undefeated Ryan “Darth” Bader. Tall and extremely unorthodox in his style, Jones will look to add Bader to his already impressive list of fallen foes that includes Vladimir Matyushenko, Brandon Vera and Stephan Bonnar.

Bader is a formidable and well rounded opponent however and the clash of styles means this could easily have been a main event on another card.
The same can be said for the next light heavyweight bout when two fans’ favourites face off in the Octagon. Forrest Griffin takes on Rich Franklin in a fight between UFC stalwarts that is still a compelling contest despite both fighters entering the twilight of their careers.

Griffin is still looking to banish the memory of his embarrassing first round KO at the hands of Anderson Silva back in August 2009 despite beating Tito Ortiz fourteen months ago. Franklin effectively retired UFC great Chuck Liddell last time out, knocking him out with a right hand after suffering a broken left hand early in the round.

With no title at stake and only legacies to protect, this is by no means a dead rubber fight. Both fighters are known and loved for their committed performances inside the cage and this is a fascinating matchup which promises to be a great spectacle.

About the author:

Brian Kirk

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