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UFC 81: Breaking Point

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Ricardo Almeida (-140) vs. Alan Belcher (+110)

by Stan Leung
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Alan Belcher vs. Ricardo Almeida

UFC 81: Breaking Point
Saturday February 2, 2008 8:00PM (EST)
Ricardo Almeida vs. Alan Belcher

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Ricardo "Cachorrao" Almeida (8-2) or Big Dog is a Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jujitsu black belt and has fought some of the best middleweights in the world. Alan “The Talent” Belcher (12-4) is an up and rising mixed martial arts star but has not fought the quality of fighters that Almeida has.

Every one of Almeida’s fights have been against top quality opponents like Ryo Chonan at PRIDE - Bushido 3, Nathan Marquardt, Kazuo Misaki, Ikuhisa Minowa, Eugene Jackson, and Akira Shoji. His only two loses have come by Matt Lindland and Andrei Semenov at UFC 35 - Throwdown. His incredible BJJ and grappling skills and the high level of competition gives him a definite advantage over Belcher.

In grappling, Almeida has fought and won medals in every prestigious jujitsu tournament in the world. He has 4 National Titles and a Pan Am Gold medal. Ricardo is also a Silver Medalist at the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships.

His résumé includes:

4x National Brazilian Champion
2 x Rio de Janeiro State Champion
1998 Pan Am Champion
1998 Abu Dhabi runner-up
1999 Abu Dhabi 3rd place
2000 Abu Dhabi 3rd place Absolute
2001 Abu Dhabi runner-up

Now "The Talent" is a very good fighter but he has not fought the level of MMA fighters as Almeida has and he does not come from a great MMA camp so the level of training partners is not as intense as Almeida’s. He has fought middle tier fighters like Kalib Starnes at UFC 77 - Hostile Territory and Travis Fowler but when he goes up against to level MMA fighters like Kendall Grove, Marvin Eastman or Yushin Okami at UFC 62 - Liddell vs Sobral he loses. Belcher at this point in his career has not raised his fight game to move to the next level.

Belcher is a harder striker and he doe shave KO power but Ricardo Almeida has fought heavy world class strikers in the past like Misaki but so he will be able to handle the heavy hands of Belcher.

The deciding factor in this fight is the ground game and on the ground there is no comparison. Almeida is a BJJ master, learning from the famous Gracie family. His skills on the ground are heads and shoulders above Belcher’s skills. Belcher’s last lost was to Kendall Grove by the Brabo Choke which exposed his lack of ground game. Belcher has a weak ground game and will want to keep this fight standing.

Almeida will be able take Belcher down and submit him with ease. Even though Almeida has not fought in close to 4 years he has stayed in shape with his own BJJ club and someone like Almeida does not lose his grappling skills. If he was able to submit Nathan Marquardt I’m sure Belcher will pose no problem on the ground.

Bottom Line: Whne there is a grappler versus striker, I will always take the grappler. Almeida just has way better skills on the ground he will not allow Belcher to keep this fight in the stand up. Once on the ground this fight will be a clinic and over quick. You are only as good as your training partners and opponents and Belcher has neither.

Almeida wins by second round submission

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