The MMA community has lived in fear of the leg locks of Rousimar Palhares for years now, but apparently no one told Alan Belcher.
Belcher showed off some impressive submission defense throughout the fight, pulling out of several leg locks and even worked to submit Palhares at one point in their fight at Izod Center in New Jersey.
Once Belcher got himself out of trouble, he started landing some serious ground-and-pound on the Brazilian, dropping vicious elbows from Palhares’ guard to earn the TKO victory.
“The Talent” is now going to get his chance to fight the elite in the middleweight division, and just made a huge statement to the rest of the 185-pound fighters in the UFC.
What we’ll remember about this fight
Belcher has some serious guts and awesome submission defense.
The fact that Belcher was able to stay in a dangerous position for the majority of the fight and not get finished might be the most impressive thing about his performance. But lets not take anything away from the finish itself.
Belcher found himself an opening and capitalized with his ground-and-pound, winning the fight and the attention of the UFC fans.
What we learned about Belcher
He may be the most underrated fighter at middleweight.
Belcher’s game looked solid on both the feet and the ground, and he could be a legitimate threat to fight for a title in the next couple of years.
The Biloxi, Mississippi native going to need another win or two before he gets a title fight, but he’s well on his way after his most recent performance.
What we learned about Palhares
Is it possible that Palhares was overrated all along?
The BJJ specialist has made a solid name for himself tapping out guys he is expected to beat, but he’s never been able to deliver against top competition.
Palhares had a lot of people promising he would live up to expectations Saturday night on Fox, and he had one of the worst performances in his UFC career.
Unless he is able to come out and take out a highly-ranked fighter in his next couple fights, Palhares may have solidified his status as a gatekeeper with his loss to Belcher.
What’s next for Belcher
Every top fighter in the middleweight division is currently booked, so unless Belcher decides to stay active against a lesser opponent, he may have to wait on the sidelines again.
Belcher has only fought three times in the last two years due to a devastating eye injury, but his best option may be to wait for the winner of the Vitor Belfort-Wanderlei Silva bout at UFC 147.
What’s next for Palhares
Palhares is still a dangerous fighter, but until "Toquinho" starts to mix up his game, he won’t be going anywhere up the UFC ladder.
A fight against the loser of Ed Herman and Jake Shields would be a nice test to see where he belongs in the pecking order.