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UFC 126

Feb. 5 @ 8ET        Live from Las Vegas on PPV (Spike will show preliminary undercard fights)

Key fights in this ppv include….

Ryan Bader  V. Jon Jones

Jon ” Bones” Jones is 11-1 (7 (t)ko’s) and is the #7 ranked light-heavy weight in the world. He is listed at 6’4 206 lbs. Jones trains out of Jackson’s MMA. This 23 year old’s only loss was a disqualification against Matt Hamill (illegal downward elbows) when he was pummeling Hamill. He has excellent strikes that take advantage of his tremendous reach. Jones has a solid ground, and absolutely savage elbows.

Ryan “Darth” Bader has an undefeated record of 12-0 (5(t)ko’s) and is the #6 ranked LHW in the world. He is listed at 6’2 205lbs and trains with Power MMA Team. Bader is 27 years old and is the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 8. Bader is a good striker with great power. Most importantly, he is an excellent wrestler and former Arizona St. wrestling teammate of UFC fighters C.B. Dollaway and current heavy weight champion, Cain Velasquez.

This is going to be a great fight, as the winner is sure to be on the fast track towards a title shot. I believe Jones’ reach will be too much of a problem for Bader which is why I’m picking Jones to end Bader’s streak.

Forrest Griffin  V. Rich Franklin

Rich “Ace” Franklin is 28-5 (15 (t)ko’s and 10 submissions) and is the former UFC middleweight champion. This 36 year old veteran is currently listed at 6’1 205 lbs and trains with TeamExtreme. Rich is a well rounded fighter, but with age comes loss of speed and I believe he has lost a step.

Forrest Griffin is 17-6 and is the #5 ranked LHW in the world. Griffin is listed at 6’3 205 lbs and is 31 years old. Griffins fights out of the Xtreme Couture camp. Griffin is a former UFC LHW champion and is one of the men largely responsible for increasing the popularity of the sport when his well known heart and stamina carried him to victory in the Ultimate Fighter season 1 finale against Stephan Bonnar in what Spike TV has listed as the #1 fight of all time. Forrest may show a little bit of cage rust, as he has not fought in 15 months.

Both men are agressive fighters, especially Griffin. I believe this will be another great fight but Griffin has the advantage in youth, reach (slight), and overall size. For all those reasons I have to pick Griffin in this one.

* Special mention needs to made here. This card will also include UFC lightweight debut of former WEC batamweight champion Miguel Torres (38-3). Miguel is still only 30 years old, and has been widely regarded as one of the top 10 pound for pound fighters in the world. Miguel is extremly well rouded and will do serious damage in the UFC!

Anderson Silva  V. Vitor Belfort will be for the UFC Middleweight championship.

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort is 19-8 (13(t)ko’s) and is the #5 ranked MW in the world. Belfort is 33 years old and os listed at 6′ 185 lbs. Belfort fights out of the Tapout Training Center camp, but has not fought in 15 months. Vitor is a genuine Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. I say genuine because some places give out black belts like candy, but a black belt from Carlson Gracie is as real as it gets. However, Vitor also has amazingly fast hands in the striking game, and has been able to beat many opponents without even having to show off his jiu-jitsu skills. If any man has a chance to beat Silva, this is the guy.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva is 27-4 (15 (t)ko’s) and the 35 year old is listed at 6’2 185 lbs. The current UFC middleweight champion fights out of Team Nogueira/Killer Bees. He is undefeated in the UFC (13-0) with an amazing 10 straight title defenses that include the likes of Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, and Nate “The Great” Marquardt as notable victims. Silva is #1 ranked PFP fighter in the world. Much like Belfort, he is a humble man that lets his hands do the talking. Maybe a lack of english is also a factor? But he is also a genuine BJJ black belt, and owns the fastest pair of hands this division has ever seen. His reach is excellent and has allowed him to overwhelm most of his opponents while standing.

Because he is so good, people started to wonder if he could still take a punch? He proved that recently against Chael Sonnen when he took many blows yet showed still showed the world why he is champion by displaying his heart through adversity in a rare submission victory. Sonnen later tested positive for a banned substance. Simply put, Silva is the greatest cage fighting champion I have ever seen. His heart, speed, and versatility are all what makes him so elite.

I think Belfort could make this fight interesting, and has a real shot at winning. But Silva needs a good challenge, and I believe he will be up for it. I just have to pick the reigning champion. He always seems to have the right answer for whoever comes his way.

*Rankings provided by Sherdog.com where you can always find great information on the latest fight news.

If you love fights, do everything possible to see this event!

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