Tonight will be the biggest fight of Alan Belcher’s MMA career.
“The Talent” is looking to make the jump from middle of the pack to contender with a win over Rousimar Palhares on the UFC on FOX 3 main card, and eventually challenge for the title.
Belcher is currently riding a three-fight win streak and has won five of his last six bouts, with the lone loss coming via a controversial decision to Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100.
With his spot in the middleweight division hanging in the balance, Belcher’s opponent may be the most dangerous man in the UFC, as Palhares has claimed the legs of over half of his Octagon opponents.
If Belcher is able to negate the submissions of Palhares and win this fight, his quest to become a UFC champion will be well underway, but a loss would be devastating for “The Talent.”
After scoring a win over Patrick Cote at UFC 113, Belcher was one of the top rising stars in the middleweight division, and he was rewarded with a main event fight against Demian Maia in September of 2010.
Soon after, disaster struck as Belcher was forced out of the fight due to a major eye injury that kept him out of action for a total of 16 months.
Belcher defeated Jason MacDonald in his return last September, but he had been gone for so long that all of the hype that had been behind him was long gone.
This fight is Belcher’s chance to regain the momentum he had a couple of years ago, but if he loses he will be forced to attempt to claw his way back up the middleweight ladder.
At just 28 years old, Belcher’s time in the sport is far from over, but if he fails against Palhares tonight, it may be a few years before he gets another opportunity to fight a top competitor.
If Belcher wants to get near the middleweight title any time soon, he has to win tonight.