As we reported earlier this week, the UFC officially announced UFC 126 on Saturday, February 5, live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. In the main event, the UFC middleweight title will be on the line when Anderson “The Spider” Silva looks to extend his record title reign against history-seeking Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort, who is attempting to become only the third man to hold UFC belts in two weight classes.
“UFC fans expect big things from us every year for our Super Bowl weekend show, and this year could be our biggest ever,” UFC President Dana White said. “Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort is a fight fan’s dream match. It’s a fight people have wanted for years. Don’t blink because both of these guys have dynamite in their hands and can end the night quickly and in very exciting fashion. Plus, I can’t wait to see Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin mix it up; they’re two former champions that are known for being in the middle of instant classics. And then we have the next wave of stars in the Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader fight. Both of these guys are the future of our sport and possess unlimited talent. It’s impossible to pick a winner here.”
Arguably the most gifted and dominating fighter in UFC history, Anderson Silva (27-4) is currently riding a record-breaking 13-fight winning streak inside the Octagon that includes seven middleweight title defenses (another record). Owner of wins over Rich Franklin (twice), Chris Leben, Nate Marquardt, Thales Leites, and Forrest Griffin, Silva’s dynamic style has baffled opponents in the UFC for over four years now. Fresh from a stirring come from behind submission victory over Chael Sonnen in August, Silva now readies himself for perhaps his stiffest challenge yet in countryman Vitor Belfort.
“This is a fight I’ve been looking forward to for a while,” Silva said. “Vitor is a very talented striker and a tough competitor. I am training very hard and I know that the fight could go anywhere, but I expect a standup war. I also want to say that I’m very excited to be fighting in Las Vegas again. I have a lot of fans in Vegas and it’s been a while since I’ve fought there. The fans are always very loud in Las Vegas and I feed off that energy.”
A veteran of the early days of the UFC, Vitor Belfort (19-8) first captivated fight fans with his blazing hand speed and fight ending power. But there was more to Belfort’s game than his knockout victories over Tank Abbott and Wanderlei Silva, and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt showed off his abilities both standing and on the mat in memorable battles around the globe. In 2004, he stopped Randy Couture to win the UFC light heavyweight title, and after a few years away from the Octagon, he returned in 2009 with a blistering first round knockout of Rich Franklin. Now “The Phenom” looks to make UFC history against one of the best to ever put on the gloves.
UFC 126 takes place on Saturday, February 5, live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV.