UFC 126 'Prelims' on Spike TV first of 12 live undercard telecasts for 2011

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After a brief stint on ION television, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to the Spike TV airwaves in 2011 with a 12-episode commitment for its popular "UFC Prelims" special, starting with a live telecast from the UFC 126: "Silva vs. Belfort" event on Feb. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The cable television network announced the new deal earlier today.

The UFC 126 "Prelims" telecast will feature undercard bouts of Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly (lightweight) and Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa (featherweight).

With his recent victories over rival Jamie Varner and Chris Horodecki, Cerrone ended his run in the WEC with a bang. The "Cowboy" comes into his bout against Kelly sporting a 13-3 record. Those three losses were to former world champions Varner and Ben Henderson (twice).

Cerrone will be looking to make his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut a successful one, but will "Tellys" ruin those plans?

A TKO win over T.J. O'Brien at UFC 123 helped Kelly rebound after going 1-2 in his last three bouts. While Kelly has proven he can handle the lower-tier fighters of the UFC, he struggles when he encounters stiffer competition like he did when he met Marcus Davis, Dennis Siver and Jacob Volkmann.

He'll be looking to prove he belongs with the top dogs of the lightweight division when he battles the "Cowboy."

Like Cerrone, Omigawa will also be looking to make a statement in front of a new generation of UFC fans. The popular Japanese fighter may not sport the most impressive career record at 12-8-1, but he's won his last five fights and is 8-2-1 since dropping down to featherweight in 2008. 

Holding wins over such notable fighters as Marlon Sandro, Cole Escovado, LC Davis and Nam Phan, Omigawa is a highly ranked import that is sure to make some noise in the freshly minted UFC 145-pound division; however, he won't be given an easy match-up in his return to the UFC.

Chad Mendes will be making his promotional debut when they lock horns but he'll be coming in on the strength of four consecutive victories with the now defunct WEC.

At just 25 years of age, Mendes will enter the fight nine years younger than the veteran from the "Land of the Rising Sun."

UFC 126 will feature middleweight champion Anderson Silva looking to successfully defend his title for the eighth time when he battles number one contender Vitor Belfort. Also on the card, former UFC champions Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin go toe-to-toe.

Plus, two light heavyweight prospects go to war as 205-pound sensation Jon Jones meets the undefeated Ryan Bader.

For more on UFC 126 results and our LIVE fight coverage for the Feb. 5 pay-per-view event click here.

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