Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 126


UFC 126 will be taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas on February 5th and will feature a Middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.

Main event fights will be aired via PPV and the televised portion of the prelim card will be aired in Canada on Spike TV and in HD on Rogers Sportsnet. One prelim will be featured on Facebook as well.

Here is the Top MMA News breakdown:

Anderson Silva (-263) vs. Vitor Belfort (+180)
Anderson Silva is widely considered to be the most dominant champion in UFC history. With seven consecutive title defences and twelve consecutive wins including a super human first round KO against Forrest Griffin, he makes a compelling case as, pound for pound, the world’s greatest fighter. The man, however, is not invincible. He was caught early on his feet by Sonnen during his last title defence and was dominated for the majority of the fight by Sonnen’s elite level wrestling and high work rate before pulling off a miraculous submission in the latter half of round 5.

Vitor Belfort has been a perennial contender since his UFC 12 octagon debut way back in February of 1997. For readers new to MMA that was not a typo. UFC 12! Vitor was fighting in the octagon even before hall of famer Randy Couture.

Belfort and Silva are both well rounded experienced veterans of the sport. Vitor is being hyped as has having lightning bolts in his hands but against a striker of Silva’s calibre, I expect Vitor to emulate Sonnen’s gameplan. Set up takedowns with effective striking then ground and pound. His bread and butter strategy in his early Pride FC days.

Silva’s preternatural movement and striking accuracy will be the difference in this fight. Silva will get into Vitor’s head early, make Vitor miss and punish him flying knees and strikes from the clinch.
Prediction: Anderson Silva via Fourth Round TKO

Forrest Griffin (+123) vs. Rich Franklin (-172)
Stylistically these two former champs and TUF coaches are probably as well rounded as anyone else in their weight division. They both have impressive endurance and consistently produce fast paced exciting fights. I expect this fight to be an extremely competitive bloody war!

I’m going with the underdog on this one. I think Forrest’s long layoff due to injury is being overplayed probably thanks to his self deprecating interview style. Forrest is the bigger man and I think this physical advantage will wear on Rich into the third round and help Forrest edge out a close decision victory.
Prediction: Forrest Griffin by Split Decision

Jake Ellenberger (-400)vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha (+250)
Jake Ellenberger is going into this fight riding a two fight win streak with impressive victories over John Howard and Mike Pyle. Jake has great hands, ground control and takedowns and was originally slated to face off against the world’s second best Welterweight Jon Fitch. Carlos Eduardo Rocha is coming off a win in his UFC debut against Kris McCray. In his fight against Kris, Carlos displayed a very active guard and slick ground transitions before finishing the fight in the first round with a kneebar.

I think Rocha will be completely outmatched by Ellenberger in this fight. Rocha looked impressive in his last fight because Kris McCray played right into Rocha’s strengths by taking him down and engaging in jujitsu warfare. Ellenberger will not make the same mistake McCray did and instead will utilize his superior stand up and wrestling to dominate this fight on his feet.
Prediction: Jake Ellenberger via Second Round TKO

MMA BettingJon Jones (-385)vs. Ryan Bader(+250)
Jon Jones is an overwhelming favourite in this fight for a reason. He is on a tear and headed straight for a shot at the Light-Heavyweight title. Jones has violently destroyed his last three opponents Brandon Vera, Vladimir Matyushenko and Matt Hamill all in the first round despite losing to Matt Hamill on a technicality. Jones has the longest reach in UFC history giving him an advantage of over 10 inches. It will be very difficult for Bader close that distance and shoot in on Jones when Jon emulates Anderson Silva’s low, hips back fighting stance and animalistic cage movement.

Bader is a dangerous man though. He will be bringing heavy hands and powerful explosive wrestling technique into this fight. I think his best chance for success in this fight is to take Jones into later rounds where his striking and takedown defence may not be as sharp and look for an arm lock submission from side mount.

Unfortunately for Ryan Bader, Jon Jones likely has better MMA style wresting. I expect this fight to be another display of technical superiority similar to Jones’s fights with Matyushenko, Vera and Hamill. Jon will utilize his long limbs and unorthodox movement to surprise Bader with a trip takedown and proceed to ground and pound his way to another first round TKO.
Prediction: Jon Jones via First Round TKO

Antonio Banuelos (+280) vs. Miguel Torres (-455)
Miguel Torres used to be considered practically unbeatable in the Bantamweight division until his recent back to back losses to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez. Since then, Miquel has regrouped and started training with GSP’s head coach Firas Zahabi at the Tristar gym in Montreal. This move proved effective as Torres is coming off a recent win over Charlie Valencia at WEC 51.

Antonio Banuelos is coming off a unanimous decision victor over Chad George and both a recent win and a recent loss over former contender Scott Jorgensen. Banuelos is a durable fighter with power in both hands but we have not seen him face anyone with Miguel’s reach or offensive prowess.

Miguel is the overwhelming favourite in this fight for a reason. His rangy aggressive striking style will probably overwhelm Banuelos but Miguel’s fighting stance leaves him open to Antonio’s left hook if he can close this distance. I think this fight is closer than the odds indicate but I still expect Torres to be well prepared and dominant in this fight.
Prediction: Miguel Torres via First Round KO

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