The anticipation of UFC Champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort at UFC 126 is coming to reality. In a matter of days, MMA fans will find out if Belfort will be the one to take the UFC belt from Silva.
I am very excited to see Belfort back in the UFC. He had ups and downs but in his last few fights, Belfort has shown why he is "The Phenom." Belfort's boxing looks sharper than ever with his wins over Terry Martin, Rich Franklin and his incredible KO of Matt Lindland at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
Silva has to be cautious with Belfort's striking power. If Silva dances around or takes Belfort as another Chael Sonnen-type of fight, he might be woken up by the doctors telling him he just got knocked out. Despite what many may feel about Chael Sonnen, he gave Silva a fight to remember and showed the holes in Silva's game plan.
My outlook on this fight goes two ways: either it becomes a five-round back and forth war with a win by decision, or someone is going to sleep. I predict Silva will come out, circle the cage and throw a few jabs to feel out Belfort. When the opening exists, Silva will throw hand combinations to engage Belfort into the clinch where he can land those vicious knees, hoping for a KO.
Belfort's strategy would be to counter Silva's boxing and land a few of his own combinations. In the Lindland fight, Belfort carefully waited and bang! His left cross dropped Lindland and four more punches made Lindland stiff as a board.
Silva stands southpaw at times, with the occasion of switching stances to throw off his opponents. With accurate timing, Belfort can land that power cross to Silva's chin, sending him down to the mat and possibly end the fight with furious ground and pound.
Silva needs to play smart and not "take hits" like he did with Sonnen. Silva was bobbing and weaving his head but Sonnen kept landing punch after punch. Silva cannot do that with Belfort because has knockout power in both hands.
On the other hand, the knockout power of Anderson Silva can be made into a highlight reel of who's who. From Chris Leben and Rich Franklin to Nate Marquardt and Forrest Griffin, when Anderson Silva is on point, he is a sharpshooter.
Belfort is obviously aware of Silva's power and submission skills. Belfort may be wise to avoid getting into a clinch battle where Silva can have a slight advantage of being two inches taller. And in a championship fight, the height and reach advantage can be your worst nightmare.
If Silva and Belfort put it all on the line, UFC 126 will be just as thrilling as it sounds on paper. The question of course is will the Phenom prevail when the Spider bites? I can't wait to find out.