With the sport's most dominant champion, perhaps it's no surprise that Anderson Silva rules over what is widely regarded as the most talent-thin division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He's pretty much cleaned it out, and, Chael Sonnen notwithstanding, lacks a single challenger that could really carry a pay-per-view on the threat of him beating "The Spider."
That aside, there's always room for new faces, and Rousimar Palhares seems like a great candidate to step up to the next level in the division after his eye-opening performance at UFC 142 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
With another impressive submission victory, Palhares tore through Mike Massenzio like a man double-parked hoping to avoid a ticket he couldn't afford. Pulling guard in mixed martial arts (MMA) is often a sign of desperation, but with Palhares, it's a legitimately lethal offensive gesture.
He simply finds leg submissions from every angle imaginable.I'm not sure what prototype you'd build to give Silva problems (Sonnen is a pretty good start), but don't sleep on Palhares' chances against Silva, especially compared to everyone else's. He has a rock-solid chin, and unlike many Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, has outstanding takedowns.
His stand up game is still too crude and unrefined to really threaten Silva on the feet, especially gives his compact, 5'8" frame, but I don't think he'd be intimidated, which is what Silva has done to most opponents in recent fights.
Palhares brings the ruckus, and with another win or two over a legit contender(s), which Massenzio was not, he should be in line for a title shot.
Jason Probst can be reached at www.twitter.com/jasonprobst