For a man expected to return home from New Jersey less one major limb, Alan Belcher performed remarkably well last night.
The Talent took on leg-locker extraordinaire Rousimar Palhares last night on the main card of UFC on FOX 3: Diaz vs. Miller and was picked by many to lose to the stout Brazilian submission specialist. When Palhares dove at Belcher and latched onto one of his gams, those people seemed to be moments away from having their picks justified.
But instead of grimace in pain as Toquinho shredded his knee or ankle, Belcher stayed cool and collected, defending deftly Palhares’ submission attack. After removing his leg from danger, the noted striker didn’t back out and away, but remained in Palhares’ guard. This too, seemed to be a death knell for Belcher — until he started wailing away on Palhares like he stole something. A few big punches and elbows later and Belcher was being pulled off of his opponent, having scored his fourth win in a row.
UFC president Dana White admitted that Belcher surprised him last night and considerably upped his stock at middleweight in the process.
“I told him in there tonight, I knew for fact as soon as that fight went to the ground that fight was over — meaning the other way. I thought that he was gonna get submitted, especially when he was in that kneebar deep,” White leveled. “And not only did he get out of it and pull out, then when he stayed in his guard I’m like, ‘What is he doing? Why is he staying in his guard? He should stand up!’
“The kid, I mean he came out and performed incredibly tonight. And it definitely puts him up into the top five in that weight class. We’ll see where he goes from here.”
For Belcher, who said he trained leglock defense endlessly in preparation for this bout, the top of the weight class is exactly where he wants to be.
“I feel like I’m the best in the division and there’s no road too fast to the title,” said Belcher. “So, whatever happens, let’s do it.”