They say you play with fire and you’ll get burned.
Well, Alan Belcher stepped right into the fire on Saturday night in New Jersey and came out unscathed and without a mark on him after his fight with Rousimar Palhares at UFC on Fox 3.
The story going into the fight was Belcher wanted no part of Palhares’ deadly ground game. A submission specialist, Palhares has been known for his vicious techniques including a heel hook that has kept more than a few orthopedic surgeons in business.
As soon as the fight started, Palhares got his wish because he snatched a single leg and put Belcher on the mat. There was a collective gasp between the fans in the arena and the ones watching at home because it was almost like everybody saw the end coming.
Everybody didn’t include Alan Belcher.
Belcher actually locked up Palhares’ leg at first looking for a Twister submission, but then went into defense mode as the Brazilian started clasping for his leg, looking for a knee bar or heel hook. Either way, Palhares was hell bent on twisting Belcher’s leg into a completely wrong direction.
He got to do neither.
Belcher scrambled and stayed calm and after a few back and forth moments, he ended up on top of Palhares working inside his guard. From there, the Mississippi native took over with a decimating ground game that had nothing to do with submissions.
Belcher absolutely unloaded on Palhares with punches and one big elbow that was heard all the way back in his opponent’s native Brazil. The barrage continued and with each punch landed, Belcher felt the victory drawing closer and closer.
Finally, with Palhares clearly dazed and not defending himself the referee swooped in for the save. Belcher had won the fight in the unlikeliest of positions against one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the sport.
“Why don’t you guys asked Toquinho who the baddest man on the ground on MMA is? Not him no more,” Belcher shouted after finishing Palhares on the mat.
The win marks Belcher’s 4th in a row and sixth out of his last seven. It’s clear the longtime UFC middleweight is gunning for a title shot sooner rather than later, and it’s hard to deny he made a strong statement with his performance on Saturday night.
“I just wanted to prove I could beat the best guy on the ground, I can beat the best guy standing up,” said Belcher.
“Baby, that belt is mine. I’m coming for it. I think you know it now.”
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