Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 | 10:02 p.m.
One fighter at UFC 126 further cemented his status at the top of mixed martial arts, while another inched closer to someday joining him.
Anderson Silva didn’t allow for any suspense in the Main Event middleweight title fight against Vitor Belfort. Silva knocked out Belfort with a left kick that landed right under the challenger’s chin in the first round.
“I want to thank my coach for teaching me that kick that I did,” Silva said through a translator after the fight.
Meanwhile, the sport’s quickest rising star, Jon Jones, passed his toughest test against previously undefeated Ryan Bader.
The fight went about nine minutes before Jones submitted Bader with a guillotine choke. After the fight, UFC announcer Joe Rogan told Jones he would face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 for the light heavyweight title.
Jones’ mentor, Rashad Evans, was scheduled for the fight but had to pull out because of an injured knee.
“I feel so great,” Jones said in his post-fight interview in the octagon. “I’m going for a world title baby.”
The fight between Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin lived up to its billing in the co-Main Event. They swung freely and in a closely contested battle, Griffin’s size advantage proved too much.
He took down Franklin in the first round and controlled the entire five minutes with efficient but not devastating ground and pound. Franklin also picked up the second round to win a unanimous decision. All judges scored it 29-28.
“It’s great to be back,” Griffin, who missed more than a year with a shoulder injury, said in his octagon interview.
Before the three headlining bouts, Jake Ellenberger met Carlos Eduardo Rocha in a welterweight match. After a competitive first round that saw Rocha nearly win by submission, Ellenberger rebounded. He took a split decision victory with scores in his favor both at 29-28. One judge scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Rocha.
Former WEC champion Miguel Torres kicked off the pay-per-view main card with a dismantling of bantamweight challenger Antonio Banuelos. The fight never went to the ground and Torres used his stand-up advantage to score a 30-27 victory on three judges’ cards.
“He’s real tough and took a lot of punches,” Torres said afterward in the octagon. “I knew I broke his nose. I heard it crunch a few times.”
Check back later for full coverage of tonight's card. Below are the full results from the preliminary card.
Donald Cerrone defeated Paul Kelly via submission in the second round of their lightweight fight. Cerrone won his UFC debut by securing a rear naked choke.
Chad Mendes beat Michihiro Omigawa by unanimous decision. Omigawa couldn’t overcome Mendes’ quickness or takedowns and all three judges scored the featherweight contest 30-27.
Demetrious Johnson defeated Kid Yamamoto via unanimous decision. Two judges scored the bantamweight bout 30-27, while the third’s tally equaled 29-28.
Paul Taylor beat Gabe Ruediger via knockout in a lightweight bout at 1:42 of the second round. Taylor had Ruediger hurt and then placed a kick right to the middle of his face to end things.
Kyle Kingsbury defeated Ricardo Romero via TKO in a light heavyweight bout at 0:21 in the first round. Kingsbury stormed out, landed a couple combinations and that ended it.
Mike Pierce knocked out Kenny Robertson in a welterweight fight at the 29-second mark of the second round. Robertson controlled much of the first round and threatened to submit Pierce, but was defenseless in the second round.