UFC 125: Resolution is in the books and the results looked like this:
Jacob Volkmann decisions Antonio McKee.
Daniel Roberts wins via round one kimura submission over Greg Soto.
Brad Tavares wins via first round TKO over Phil Baroni.
Diege Nunes split decision win over Mike Brown.
Jeremy Stephens wins via third round KO over Marcus Davis.
Dustin Poirier wins unanimous decision over Josh Grispi.
Clay Guida wins via round two guillotine choke submission over Takanori Gomi.
Dong Hyun Kim wins unanimous decision over Nate Diaz.
Thiago Silva wins unanimous decision over Brandon Vera.
Brian Stann defeats Chris Leben via first round TKO.
Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fight to a draw.
With UFC 125 out of the way, MMA fans and pundits can start to look forward to UFC 126 to be held in Las Veags on Super Bowl weekend. On Saturday February 5, 2011, Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort will headline the pay-per-view event.
Chad Mendes will bring a mixed martial arts record of 9-0 into his first fight with the UFC. Mendes is coming over to the UFC from the WEC with a WEC record of 4-0.
Mendes is coming off wins over two fighters with much more experience than him, Cub Swanson and Javier Vazquez.
Mendes defeated Swanson in a bout that showed his superior wrestling skill, but that was not a surprise since Mendes was a highly ranked NCAA wrestler.
In his bout against Vazquez, he showed progress, working kicks and strikes, but again, relying on his wrestling a great deal.
Mendes will have his hands full with Michihiro Omigawa, who will rejoin the UFC after a lengthy absence.
There is a lot on the line in this fight for Mendes, if he wins and shows continued progress in his fight game he could be in line for a shot at Jose Aldo in 2011, especially after Josh Grispi's poor performance at UFC 125.
A loss for Mendes will not be the end of the world, since he is still young and with additional training he should be able to easily bounce back.
Antonio Banuelos made his debut with the WEC in 2002 at WEC 5. Banuelos fought a record 14 times for the WEC, compiling a record of 9-5 with the promotion. His overall mixed martial arts record stands at 18-6.
Banuelos is not a well known quantity outside of the WEC, but he is a fast paced and exciting fighter that is worth watching.
He is 4-1 in his last five fights and ranked in the top 20 in the Bantamweight Division.
His UFC debut will be the biggest test of his MMA career, as he faces former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres.
Miguel Torres has been involved in the MMA world since making his debut back in 2000.
Torres was undefeated in his first 20 fights. After his first loss, he put together a five year winning streak, capturing the WEC Bantamweight title during that time.
He defended the title three times before losing the strap to Brian Bowles. He also lost his next fight to Joseph Benevdez. Since those two losses, he has fought one time, submitting Charlie Valencia and earning "Submission of the Night."
Torres' overall MMA record stands at an impressive 38-3.
Torres is ranked at number six on the Sherdog bantamweight rankings.
An exciting fighter to watch, his battle with Banuelos will be on the main card for UFC 126, and it should not be missed.
Jon Jones is 11-1, with the only blemish on his record being a DQ for illegal elbows in his fight against Matt Hamill.
After he defeated Vladimir Matyushenko, UFC president Dana White said, "Vladimir Matyushenko is a guy who I have a a lot of respect for, and I didn't think it was going to happen that easy. Jones is the real deal, and he just catapulted himself tonight into the top eight in the world."
The problem for the 23 year old Jones is that there is another young up and coming competitor in the UFC light heavyweight division by the name of Ryan Bader.
The two will meet on this card.
During his short career, Jones has won the 2009 Fight Magazine Newcomer of the Year Award, the Sherdog 2009 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year Award and the 2010 World MMA Breakthrough Fighter of the Year Award.
To say expectations are high for Jones would be a huge understatement.
A win in this fight will get his name mentioned as a serious title contender, a loss won't be the end of the world, but it will set him back a few steps and he will have to work his way back up the rankings.
Bader will enter his fight with Jon Jones undefeated at 12-0. His number six ranking puts him one spot above Jones in the Sherdog rankings.
Jones said the following of his opponent, after seeing him defeat Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 119, “I think he gassed out and I think he’s been gassing out in his last few fights,” Jones told MMAFighting. “With his strength may come a lack of cardio…Where he has the physical power, I think genetics don’t allow him to be able to go a vicious fifteen minutes like he needs to, especially when someone really puts the heat on him.”
He followed that up with, “I think Bader’s a great fighter. I guess the only disappointment was that I’m fighting guys with the same style, and that’s wrestling/boxing. I look at Ryan Bader’s style as being like a boxer that’s looking for the double-leg takedown the whole time. I’m just ready to fight different styles, like southpaws and strikers and jiu jitsu aces and stuff like that.”
With those comments, did Jones provide Bader with a training blueprint? If Bader improves his cardio and comes out fighting in a different style, he may very well surprise Jones.
The fight has the same implications for Bader as it does for Jones, a win moves him closer to a title shot, a loss drops him back a few notches and he has to climb back up the rankings.
In short, it's a chance to return to the upper echelon of the light heavyweight division.
Forrest hasn't fought since beating Tito Ortiz in November of 2009. Since that fight, Forrest has been rehabbing a shoulder injury as well as promoting his book.
He has shown up at almost every UFC PPV event as of late, and he remains ranked in the top five light heavyweights by Sherdog.
Griffin's record is not stellar at first glance, at 17-6. However when you look at the level of opponent he has lost to, Anderson Silva, Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz among others, the six losses could be a bit misleading.
Griffin is one of the most game fighters in the UFC, and he will not shy away from any opponent.
A win could very well set him up on the fast track for a title shot, a loss in a close fight and he retains top ten ranking, a blow out loss is the only thing that could drop him out of the top ten.
Griffin knows that a lot is on the line in this fight, this one could easily be more entertaining than the headline bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.
Rich Franklin's career has been up and down as of late.
His last win was in June of this year, a knockout victory over Chuck Liddell. The fight would prove to be Liddell's last in the UFC.
Before that fight, Franklin was KO'd by Vitor Belfort. Prior to the Belfort loss, he decisioned Wanderlei Silva, and before the Silva loss he fell to Dan Henderson.
Franklin needs to string two wins in a row together. A win in this fight is much more important for Franklin's career than it is for Griffin's.
A loss here and the whispers that Franklin is a gatekeeper at this point in his career become even louder.
It seems as if Belfort has been around forever, making his UFC debut in 1997 at UFC 12. Belfort had one professional MMA fight in October 1996 before that.
Even though he has been fighting professionally since 1996, he is only 33 years old, two years younger than Silva.
His professional record stands at 19-8.
Belfort has not fought since September 2009. He won that fight over Rich Franklin, via first round knockout. The win was his fifth in a row.
That time off may not serve him well against Silva.
Does Belfort stand a chance? He does, as Silva has not faced a striker as fearsome as Belfort before.
Is that chance better than 50-50? With Silva's evasion skills, probably not, but it just takes one strike to put someone away.
Silva's ridiculous performance against Demian Maia at UFC 112 is still remembered by MMA fans as his his last minute submission victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 117.
After the Sonnen fight, Anderson's air of invincibility was openly questioned by many MMA fans. Sonnen seemed on his way to victory until he was submitted in the final round of the five-round title fight.
Expect Silva to remember that fight as well, which could prove to be troublesome for Belfort.
If Silva comes out sloppy or too relaxed, he could get tagged by the veteran Belfort.
This fight will be a good test for Silva after his close call with Sonnen.
Many pundits are speculating that we will see the Silva vs. GSP dream bout by the end of 2011.
The point to the talk from GSP about how he would put on the needed weight to move up to middleweight as being proof that he is interested.
Everyone knows that Lorenzo Fertitta, the CEO of the UFC wants to see the fight.
Most fans would like to see the fight as well.
A win by Silva at UFC 126 and a win by GSP over Jake Shields at UFC 129 may set this fight up for the end of 2011, but then again...it may not...