The Official Scorecard - UFC 126 - Silva vs, Belfort

The top pound for pound fighter in the world was back in Vegas to defend his UFC Middleweight Championship and extend his records for most consecutive wins and title defenses. To do so, Anderson Silva would have to find a way through former UFC light Heavyweight and tournament champion, Vitor Belfort. In spite of never having competed in the UFC as a middleweight, Belfort earned his crack at the title by stopping former champion Rich Franklin in the first round at UFC 103 in September 2009. The main event was complimented with a pair of light-heavyweight tilts, one featuring fan favorites trying to line up an eventual title shot, and the other boasting a pair representing the future of the division.

The sponsors have been thanked and the judge has made his decision, so let’s go to the scorecard!

UFC Middleweight Championship
Anderson Silva (c) (27-4) vs. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
This fight had the promise of past Silva fights of lore with Chris Leben, Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, and James Irvin. It also had the potential of past Silva fights such as those against Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, and Demian Maia. What we ended up was a one round mixture of both. The title fight started as one may expect from two fighters capable of ending a bout in a moment’s notice: tentative; both respecting the others speed and power as they established their footwork and gauged their distance. For the first minute they circled one another. Then more circling. Then another minute of circling as fears of another five-round disappointment crept in. Then a quick exchange. Then more circling. Then SHAZAM! A front kick from Silva and Belfort crashes like the housing market as Silva notches another highlight reel KO in his belt.
Anderson Silva wins via KO – Round 1, 3:25
Fight Score: 8.5

Light Heavyweight Fight
Forrest Griffin (17-6) vs. Rich Franklin (28-5)
Right away, the former light-heavyweight champion took the former middleweight champion to the ground as Griffin used his size advantage to hold Franklin there for much of the first round and work some ground and pound. The second and third rounds played out much more like the fight that fans had expected in the co-main event. Both men kept the fight standing and both were scoring; Griffin dazing Franklin and Franklin having success with his body kick. The momentum shifted to Franklin’s favor in the final round as the effects of Griffin’s fourteen-month layoff set in with Griffin looking more fatigued than he had in previous fights. In the end, Griffin had enough in the tank to hold on for the win. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded another ten minutes.
Forrest Griffin wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 7.5

Light Heavyweight Fight
Jon Jones (11-1) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0)
The fact is Ryan Bader is a much better fighter than Jon Jones made him out to be in this battle of the top two light heavyweight prospects in the world. Jones took it to Bader like he’s taken it to every other opponent he’s faced in the UFC: like no one else has before. For two rounds, Bader had nothing to offer and was on the defensive for the entire bout. And by the way, how about that reverse leapfrog over Bader to take his back? I doubt Jones learned that one from an action star . . . The UFC was definitely impressed by Jones’ performance as Joe Rogan offered Jones a fast-track to a title shot against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128
Jon Jones wins via Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 2, 4:20
Fight Score: 7

Welterweight Fight
Jake Ellenberger (22-5) vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-0)
For the first round of this fight, Rocha gave Ellenberger a hands on master class in Jiu-jitsu, treating Ellenberger like a grabbling dummy with an onslaught of sweeps, mounts, and submission attempts. Ellenberger adjusted his game plan between the first and second and took a more intelligent approach to the fight, choosing to stand with Rocha for most of the round where he had the upper hand and then securing the round on the cards with a takedown. Had the last two rounds looked more like the first this fight could’ve scored higher
Jake Ellenberger wins via Split Decision
Fight Score: 6

Bantamweight Fight
Miguel Torres (38-3) vs. Antonio Banuelos (18-6)
What does one do with a double-digit reach advantage? One approach is to Jab, jab, jab, and jab, which was the game plan Torres used to perfection to take Banuelos out over the course of fifteen minutes. Banuelos had no answer for Torres’ one armed assault and stayed on the business end of Torres’ lead hand until it was too late with only seconds left in the final round. It wasn’t the exciting bell-to-bell brawl we’ve come to expect from the form WEC Bantamweight Champion, but it was an effective performance as Torres earned his first UFC win while taking no damage.
Miguel Torres wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 5

Lightweight Fight
Donald Cerrone (13-3) vs. Paul Kelly (11-3)
The fighters come out to the center of the cage to touch gloves and . . . Kelly tries a sucker punch on Cerrone and the fight is on. Cerrone ducked the sucker shot and took Kelly to the ground. Kelly successfully baited Cerrone into a stand up fight for much of the first round and a half, but a second round Cerrone trip takedown paved the way towards a submission win for the Greg Jackson trained fighter.
Donald Cerrone wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 2, 3:48
Fight Score: 8

Featherweight Fight
Chad Mendes (9-0) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (12-8-1)
Omigawa’s record did a good job of concealing the 8-1 streak he brought with him into this fight with the Team Alpha Male standout. With the exception of a tight armbar attempt from Omigawa late in the opening round, Mendes remained a step ahead of his Japanese counterpart in this grinding three round fight.
Chad Mendes wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 6

Bantamweight Fight
Demetrious Johnson (7-1) vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (18-3)
Thanks to some pressure from online fans, Dana White decided to show the highly anticipated debut of Yamamoto live on Facebook. Fans hoping to log on to a showcase performance from the Japanese superstar were instead treated to breakthrough performance from Johnson who was able to take Yamamoto down at will whenever he wanted. While it wasn’t the most exciting fight, Johnson’s ability to completely outclass and outwork the world-class Yamamoto was something to watch.
Demetrious Johnson wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 7

Lightweight Fight
Paul Taylor (10-6-1, 1 NC) vs. Gabe Reudiger (17-6)
In his second go as a lightweight in the UFC Paul Taylor proved that he’s finally in the right weight class by turning in his best performance so far in the UFC against Reudiger. Taylor punctuated his performance with a blazing head kick KO against the fence.
Paul Taylor wins via KO – Round 2, 1:42
Fight Score: 6.5

Light Heavyweight Fight
Kyle Kingsbury (9-2) vs. Ricardo Romero (11-1)
This was one of those fights that was over as quickly as it started. The referee shouted “Fight” and twenty-one ticks later Kingsbury had decisively put Romero away with a series of hard knees.
Kyle Kingsbury wins via TKO – Round 1, 0:21
Fight Score: 5

Welterweight Fight
Mike Pierce (11-3) vs. Kenny Robertson (10-0)
The question leading into this fight was how Pierce’s weight cut would affect him. He came in to the weigh-in a pound over (he would later drop the extra water) and looking noticeably softer than in past fights. Unfortunately for Robertson, Pierce showed no ill effects and handed in a solid performance, dispatching of the UFC newcomer moments into the second.
Mike Pierce wins via KO – Round 2, 0:29
Fight Score: 5.5

Total: 72 out of 110
Average Score: 6.54

UFC 126 fell nice and neat between recent cards like UFC 125 – Redemption (6.95) and Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg (6.05).

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