The tension was extremely high last night (May 5, 2012) in the middleweight match-up between extremely dangerous submission specialist Rousimar Palhares and the ever-improving Alan Belcher on the UFC on FOX 3 main card in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The mere mention of Palhares' name strikes fear into the hearts of many a middleweight, but "The Talent" Belcher was about as composed on the canvas as any fighter who had ever faced him.
Despite Palhares scoring a quick takedown and attacking with his patented heel hook repeatedly, he was unable to make Belcher tap out and instead, found himself grounded and pounded into oblivion.
So how in the world did Belcher find success where so many others had failed miserably? And what happens next for both middleweights?
Follow me after the jump for our Alan Belcher vs. Rousimar Palhares UFC on FOX 3 post-fight review and analysis
Belcher tried to work his punches and find his range early, but Palhares exploded forwards and put him on the ground with ease just 45 seconds into the fight.
However, Belcher creatively grabbed a back body lock on the ground and tied up the Brazilian into a knot, threatening with a twister and a banana split from a unique position on the ground. This was a good sign that he could hang with "Toquinho" on the canvas.
Belcher couldn't capitalize on the position though and Balhares rolled forward directly into heel hook position and began rolling. Belcher remained composed and used his free leg to push Palhares' arms off of his other leg and he was able to do this on three separate occasions.
After the last time of twisting free of the heel hook, Belcher went on the offensive, sitting up and dropping punches from within Palhares' guard. The biggest turning point was a trio of huge elbows that "The Talent" dropped the instant Palhares tried to relax and put the back of his own head on the ground.
"Toquinho's" defenses dropped considerably afterwards and Belcher took advantage, continuing to punish the leg lock specialist with heavy strikes from top position until the referee stepped in and put a halt to the punishment.
For Rousimar Palhares, this was an example of his limitations as a mixed martial artist. If you watched the end of his first round against David Branch or his fight against Nate Marquardt, he does not react well defensively after absorbing big strikes on the ground. This was a similar case and he faded big time once he couldn't submit Belcher quickly and began taking damage. He can't afford to play defense on the ground and should always be on the offensive, ever after those first couple minutes of submission attempts failed. If he could have swept into top position instead of
For Alan Belcher, this was the performance of his career. He showcased some majorly crafty ground skills, putting Palhares in some unique situations and then slickly avoiding being put in a heel hook by the Brazilian for more than a few seconds at a time. Once he got out of the leg lock the third time, he deftly took top position and really put a hurting on "Toquinho" with some vicious ground and pound. To his credit, the second he smelled blood with those elbows, he went on the attack and didn't stop until it was over.
I'd like to see Belcher face the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch, perhaps Vitor Belfort if he beats Wanderlei Silva or the Chris Weidman vs. Mark Munoz winner. He called out Anderson Silva in his post-fight speech and he deserves a really big fight after his strong showing yesterday.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you surprised Belcher was able to withstand Palhares' heel hooks? Are you a believer that "The Talent" could be within reach of a title shot?