UFC on Fox 3 will happen on May 5, 2012 in New Jersey’s IZOD Center and will feature a middleweight matchup between Rousimar Palhares (7-2, UFC) and Alan Belcher (8-4, UFC). For both fighters, a win would be pivotal to boosting their standings in the division and put one of them a step closer to fighting for the UFC middleweight strap.
For Belcher, this will be his second fight since returning from having surgery to his right eye. In September 201o, Belcher was slated to fight Demain Maia and had to withdraw because of the injury. He returned in September 2011 and verbally submitted Jason MacDonald with strikes in UFC Fight Night 25, winning in the first round of his comeback fight.
Alan Belcher told MMA Fight Corner his gameplan for Palhares. “It’s actually pretty simple. Just not get into a grappling match with him, don’t let him even get close to me and touch me. Just keep him away, fight long, and fight to my strengths. I think I’m a lot better striker than he is, and faster. Just keep it simple and win the fight.”
Preparing for Palhares means that Belcher is getting his submission defense up to par. Palhares is well known for his submissions having finished six of his professional fights with heel hooks. Though Belcher admitted he was nervous to accept the fight, he knows that’s this fight will make him perform at the top of his game. “I won’t run from him. I’ll stand my ground,” Belcher said.
While Palhares is known for his submissions, Belcher’s success has come from his wide range of skills and abilities, which could give him more of an advantage. To that Belcher commented, “He has that really dangerous one dimension and I’m more well rounded. I used to be kind of a jack of all trades, and now I’m starting to master more than one different thing in MMA. So yeah, absolutely, I think I have a lot of advantages here too.”
But in no way is Belcher overlooking his opponent’s strength, “When you get beat by heel hooks you get hurt. No one gets to tap out and walk away from it.”
Now that he’s making his comeback, he’s ready to make his mark the UFC. When Belcher spoke on the addition of former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard, he added that he hopes he gets a title shot before Lombard does.
“I think he’s one of the top pound-for-pound, most explosive guys in the whole sport. He’s one of the best athletes in the whole sport. He’s right up there with Jon Jones and Rashad. A really well-rounded grappler and striker. His striking’s pretty explosive, he has knockout power. He’s just a little beast, man. He’s gonna be a really awesome addition to the weight class. He’s gonna go straight to the top. He’s definitely a possible opponent for me. You know, we’ll just see what happens after this and maybe they’ll give me a title shot. We won’t have to see a rematch or anything if Chael Sonnen happens to win. Hopefully he doesn’t. Hopefully Anderson gets his stuff together, beats him. That’s who I want to take the belt from I think is Anderson Silva. Hopefully things unfold the way I envision them.”
But if things don’t go his way and Lombard gets a title shot first, Belcher said he would be okay with that. “I think he’s good enough to…he’s such a high level competitor. I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be mad, or kind of feel ripped off or anything if he did. I hope I get to go, I win my fight and get the title shot first.”