Will ring rust hinder Vitor Belfort and Forrest Griffin at UFC 126? Al Dannity certainly thinks so as he previews their clashes with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin.
Veteran Belfort no match for the Spider This was originally supposed to be a re-match of Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva and Chael Sonnen but Sonnen’s positive drug test put paid to that plan. Instead we face an all-Brazilian battle for Silva’s UFC Middleweight title. Belfort has been around since the early days of the promotion, making his UFC debut the same night as commentator Joe Rogan at UFC 12. After winning that tournament, Belfort went on to claim the UFC Light Heavyweight title in 2004 but the years since have been less than kind. Issues in his personal life were compounded by a string of defeats inside the octagon. The veteran has worked hard to regroup, winning his last five fights, but he has been out of action since September 2009.
Silva, for his part, has been far from his best in recent fights. It took tremendous courage to force a late submission after getting dominated by Sonnen for four rounds last time out. That followed a farce of a bout with Demian Maia. While the Spider won’t worry about what the fans made of these showings, he will want to raise his game for his own personal pride. I like Belfort to stay competitive in this one early but Silva should be able to outlast his countryman and win via strikes inside of three rounds. Bet on Anderson Silva to win as -263 favorite with Sports Interaction.
Ace can make one more title run Time is not on Rich Franklin’s side but there’s no doubt that Forrest Griffin needs a win more when they match-up on Saturday. MMA betting fans know that Griffin’s lack of action since narrowly beating Tito Ortiz in 2009 will count against him. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion has a great chance to move back into the title conversation with victory over Rich Franklin at UFC 126. Ace enters this fight as a deserved favorite. Despite being five years older than Griffin, Franklin has looked the much fresher fighter in recent outings. A dramatic first round win over Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 has put him back in with a realistic shot of a title challenge. I like Rich Franklin to gut out a points victory at -172 with Sports Interaction.
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