UFC 126: Top 10 UFC "Striker Vs. Striker" Matchups
The main event of UFC 126 could prove to be the greatest "Striker vs. Striker" matchup in UFC history.
Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva are both very fast, very explosive, and very technical.
Many UFC fans believe that Anderson Silva has never faced anybody with striking calibre and speed of Vitor Belfort, whilst others think that Belfort is too one dimensional in the feet for a great striker like Anderson Silva.
We will have to wait until UFC 126 to find out who the best striker at 185 lbs is, but until then, here are the top 10 "Striker vs. Striker" matchups in the UFC.
Dennis Siver Vs. Ross Pearson
When two of the best strikers in the lightweight division met at UFC Fight Night 21, the fans knew they would be in for a treat.
Dennis Siver, most notable for his "spinning back kick" victories over Nate Mohr and Paul Kelly, was thought to be a true test for the gritty TUF Season 9 winner.
What ensued was a great stand-up fight, with both fighters using crisp, technical striking. After a hard fought match, Pearson was declared the winner by unanimous decision in a contest that won Fight of the Night honours.
Pat Barry Vs. Antoni Hardonk
Pat Barry and Antoni Hardonk are often thought as two of the best kickboxer's in the UFC's heavyweight division, and the pair had a great scrap at UFC 104.
Although Hardonk controlled the first round of the fight with his great leg kicks, Barry found his range in the second round, and finished the Dutchman with a brutal series of strikes.
Spencer Fisher Vs. Sam Stout II
Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout are two of the most exciting fighters at 155 lbs, and always look to put on a show.
They met before in 2006, with Fisher losing by split decision after taking the fight on very short notice.
Their rematch at UFC Fight Night 10 was thrilling, explosive and dynamic, with Fisher taking the unanimous decision victory.
Chris Lytle Vs. Thiago Alves
Two of the best strikers at 170 lbs met at UFC 78 and they fought a thrilling fight, much to the delight of the fans watching.
Needless to say, their performance won Fight of the Night.
Junior Dos Santos Vs. Mirko Cro Cop
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
The pair met at UFC 103, and although it won't be remembered as a great fight, it was certainly the coming-out party for a rising star in Junior Dos Santos.
In a fight that I believe saw the passing of the torch in terms of being the best striker at heavyweight, Dos Santos dominated the former Pride superstar. He completely shut Mirko down by using the clinch and his excellent boxing skills. It was simply a grim experience to watch.
The finish came late in Round 3, where Dos Santos broke Cro Cop's orbital bone, forcing a verbal submission from the Croatian.
Vitor Belfort Vs. Chuck Liddell
The great strikers met way back at UFC 37.5, in order to establish themselves as the top contender for the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Surprisingly, Vitor took Chuck down numerous times in the first round, attempting to control the fight with his Jiu-Jitsu skills.
After a fairly close second round, we saw vintage Chuck Liddell, knocking down a flurrying Belfort with an awesome counter right hand to win a unanimous decision.
This was arguably one of Liddell's greatest performances in his UFC career.
Quinton Jackson Vs Wanderlei Silva III
Both Silva and Jackson are two of the most exciting fighters in the sport, hands down.
Their two fights in Pride were legendary, although it was "The Axe Murderer" who came out on top both times, with knockout victories.
The ending to their trilogy came at UFC 92, and the finish undoubtedly shocked everyone.
"Rampage" showed great boxing skills and eventually knocked Silva out cold with a devastating counter left hook at only 3:21 seconds of the first round.
Jackson's vicious finish garnered him Knockout of the Night honours.
Rich Franklin Vs. Wanderlei Silva
The two former champions met at UFC 99 in Germany, and they put on one heck of a fight.
After a fairly docile Round 1, the two opponents went back-and-forth with one another in a wildly exciting second round.
A clearly exhausted Wanderlei did everything he could to finish the fight in the final round, but Franklin stayed with him all the way to the end.
In a fight that could easily have been called a draw, Franklin walked away with the unanimous decision in a Fight of the Night winning performance.
Mauricio Rua Vs. Lyoto Machida I
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Two of the best strikers that the sport has ever seen met each other at UFC 104. However, this wasn't how most fans looked at their first meeting.
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida was fresh off violent wins over Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans; the latter of which earned him the UFC lightheavyweight champion.
An expert in Shotokan Karate, Machida was considered to be the top light heavyweight and one of the best fighters in the sport pound-for-pound. At the time, there was a lack challengers for Machida's title, so the UFC produced the name of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Shogun, a former Pride superstar, had not looked the same after a shocking loss to Forrest Griffin in his UFC debut. His recent performances were uninspiring to say at the least, after barely scraping past Mark Coleman, and knocking out a faded Chuck Liddell at UFC 97.
A lot of people thought Shogun would be an easy win for Machida. They we wrong.
Their match was a shock to many fans. Fans witnessed the first time Lyoto Machida lost rounds after being victimised by Shogun's monstrous leg kicks in their technical war of attrition at the Staples Centre.
In a fairly close fight, spectators around the world expected a new champion to be crowned, although it was Machida who retained his title via a controversial unanimous decision.
In my opinion, regardless of the result, this was one of the greatest fights in UFC history.
Chuck Liddell Vs. Wanderlei Silva
The fight was a long time coming, at around six years in the making.
At their peaks, Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva were often thought to be the most dangerous and destructive fighters at 205 lbs. The match fell through negotiations numerous times, and for a while it seemed to be a mere fantasy, a "what if?" in the world of MMA.
Wanderlei Silva, was a psychotic, muay thai wrecking machine in his days over at Pride, he was the epitome of violence in MMA. However, his last appearance in Pride saw him brutally knocked out against Dan Henderson.
Chuck Liddell was one of the longest reigning light heavyweight champions in UFC history. His destructions against Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz were simply legendary. However, he lost his title to Quinton Jackson, and then suffered a disappointing loss to Keith Jardine.
Some may have preferred to have seen this fight while both fighters were still in their prime, but nobody could argue that it delivered some spectacular action.
After an amazing, action packed war, that saw Wanderlei almost finished on numerous occasions, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell walked away with a unanimous decision.
The fight was declared Fight of the Night, won Fight of the Year in 2007, and is often hailed as one of the greatest fights in UFC history.