Full UFC 126 photo gallery at Heavy.com. Rundown of post-fight news, notes and quotes coming out of UFC 126…
—10,893 spectators filed into the Mandalay Bay last night to witness Anderson Silva take on Vitor Belfort. Live gate receipts totaled roughly $3.6 million.
— Anderson Silva pocketed an extra $75,000 for his stunning front kick knockout of Vitor Belfort. Jon Jones picked up the Submission of the Night bonus for choking out Ryan Bader. Donald Cerrone got his first taste of the UFC fight night bonuses for his fight with Paul Kelly. They both took home $75,000 for Fight of the Night.
— As already noted, Anderson Silva credited Steven Seagal for teaching him the front kick that he knocked out Vitor Belfort with.
“As far as the kick goes, the last time I did my training camp here, I was training at Black House with Steven Seagal, and he helped me a lot with that kick,” Silva said through his interpreter and manager, Ed Soares. “He perfected it. I did that kick for a long time, and he actually helped me perfect it.”
“That was a thing we were working on right before I stepped out,” Silva said. “Even there, Steven kind of corrected me on a few things.”
The kick reaffirmed to Dana White that Anderson Silva is the best fighter in the world, but conceded the fight started a little slow.
“I think he’s the best fighter in the world,” UFC president Dana White said in regards to Silva. “I’ve only seen that in a video game.”
“I said, ‘Listen, this thing could either be the craziest thing we’ve ever seen or the worst staring competition in history.’ We got a little bit of both.”
— Dana White confirmed at the post-fight press conference that Silva’s win set up one half of the Anderson Silva vs. GSP super fight. Before the UFC will commit to it though, Georges St. Pierre must defeat Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto. If he does, that leaves Yushin Okami as the odd man out.
“It’s looking like we are doing the [Silva]-GSP fight. If GSP wins his next fight, that will probably be the fight we’ll do. Georges made it clear that he’ll take the fight, and I think Anderson is ready to go, too. They’re both champions,” said White. “I’ve got to figure out the [Yushin] Okami part of this thing. Somebody is going to be pissed.”
Dana said the location and venue would be the most difficult challenge in booking the super fight. He’s not sure where they would do it yet, but said if they were ever going to run a show in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, this would be the fight they would headline it with. The Rogers Centre in Toronto, where GSP is scheduled to meet Jake Shields in April, was also mentioned as a possibility.
— News that Jon Jones would replace Rashad Evans in a light heavyweight title fight against Shogun Rua next month was a shock to everybody. The injury happened on Friday and Dana White didn’t find out until 2:30 yesterday afternoon that Evans was definitely out. The replacement fight literally came together cage side right before the Jones-Bader fight started.
“We did the deal literally, I don’t know if you saw, but earlier, we told ‘Shogun’ that, ‘Hey, listen, if this kid wins, we want to put him in there for the fight,'” White told MMAjunkie.com after UFC 126, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. “We talked for a while about it. Right before Jones and Bader came out, him and his team accepted the fight.”
“Literally after he won, I walked up in the octagon and told Jon, ‘Do you want to take this fight?'” White said. “He said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s literally how the fight was made tonight.
“This kid has enough pressure already. He’s going into this big fight with Bader. You don’t want to sit there and go, ‘Hey, if you win this fight, how would you like to fight ‘Shogun?” This whole thing just sort of played out. It literally played out beside the octagon right before Bader and Jones walked out.”
— Jones said he knew beforehand that Rashad had been injured, but had no idea he would be awarded the opportunity to replace him.
“I did hear about about Rashad, but I had no clue my title shot was coming,” Jones said. “Would I have asked for it? Sure. My goal is to be considered the best fighter in the light-heavyweight division. One of the reasons I look up to (UFC featherweight champion) Jose Aldo so much is because he’s a 23-year-old world champion too, and he’s doing great with it. I feel as if it’s my time.
“My confidence is very high, and I’m already in shape. I’ve got six weeks to make myself even better, and that’s what I’m excited about.”
Six weeks is all a young Jon Jones has to prepare for the biggest fight of his career to date against a champion who has far more big fight experience than him. Does that concern him? Not at all.
“I usually spend my camp getting in shape, but I’m already in shape. [Coach Jackson] wants me to calm down. He said he can’t have me peak for six more weeks,” said Jones. “But I’m not taking time off. Maybe physically I’ll take some time off, but I have a lot of studying to do. Six weeks is more than enough time, especially since I already have a six pack.”
— Shogun didn’t have a lot to say at the press conference, but noted that the opponent switch didn’t bother him much. He feels Jones has a strong striking and wrestling base much like Rashad Evans and thus his preparations wouldn’t change much. Like everyone else, he has been impressed with Jones’ performances.
“I think he’s done pretty well in all his fights winning convincingly,” Rua said through an interpreter. “He’s the guy who deserves to fight most for the belt right now.”
It’s a very intriguing fight, one I believe Shogun will win if he’s healthy, but that’s the big question. How is Shogun’s knee that’s been surgically repaired a hundred times now?
— As for Rashad Evans, Dana White isn’t sure what’s going to happen with him, but he isn’t guaranteed the title shot he waited nearly a year for when he returns.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with that now,” White said. “I feel bad about it, too. Look at the 185-pound division. [Yushin] Okami got hurt and couldn’t get that fight [against Anderson Silva] and now he’s been waiting forever.”
“I like Rashad,” White said. “Rashad and I have a good relationship. I think guys get bad advice sometimes. I don’t know if it was Rashad [making the decision] or other people telling him to wait, but in my opinion it was bad advice.”
— Forrest Griffin didn’t set anyone’s hair on fire last night with his performance against Rich Franklin, but it was solid enough to earn him a win after being out of action for over a year. For Forrest, getting the win under his belt was enough.
“I just wanted to win a fight,” he said. “I haven’t done that in a year. Seems like a good thing to do if you want to be a professional fighter. At least win one fight a year. That’s my goal. So I’m good for the year.”
No word if Rich Franklin is going to honor their bet and get a tattoo for losing the fight.
— Miguel Torres was showered with boos for his boring, but effective performance against Antonio Banuelos. When asked about his sudden change in fighting style, Torres said he stuck to the gameplan and was satisfied with getting the win.
“I had a gameplan,” Torres said. “My first two fights that I lost in the WEC were because I was too aggressive. I was chasing. It was a learning experience for me. Now I’m with a great team in Tristar in Montreal, and I trained a specific gameplan for my opponent. I actually got to use my reach and my boxing skill, and it worked out to a tee. I didn’t want to chase him too much when I hurt him. I know shorter guys are very dangerous with overhand rights and big hooks.”
Instead of blaming Torres for the lackluster fight though, Dana White blamed Banuelos for not closing the distance until it was too late.
“Actually, my criticism is to Antonio,” White said. “You notice he closed the distance that last 10 seconds of the third round? He couldn’t do that the first three rounds? He stood on the outside of the jab and got picked apart all night, and his corner kept telling him, ‘What are you doing? Get inside. Don’t stay outside and get picked apart.’ If you get hit with those kind of punches, at least get inside and rough him up, too. He did it the last 10 seconds of the third round.”
— Paul Kelly apparently pulled out the “fight like a man” line to Donald Cerrone after Cowboy choked him out. Cerrone noted the irony in that statement though after Kelly threw a cheap shot in the opening seconds of their fight.
“He told me, if I ever want to be a man and stand and fight him, let him know. But did you see him go to touch gloves and then boom. I was like, ‘Whoa, what was that?’ It’s cool, I was like, ‘You want to touch gloves?’ He’s like, ‘yeah’ then he touched gloves and tried to go over the top of it. You know, whatever. I went out there, this fight was all about me learning how to have a good time and I went out there and had a good time.”
— Dana White is “very confident” the UFC will touch down in Japan before the end of the year.
“We think we’re going to get it done. Everything that needs to happen to go to Japan has fallen into place so far, so it’s looking good. It’s on our calendar this year… It really turned around quick. It’s like Toronto. It opened up like that. New York isn’t. You just never know… It has nothing to do with [FEG & WVR’s issues], but I’m very confident we’re going to go this year – very confident. I do (have a proposed timeframe) but not one that I want to announce right now… All my buddies over there? Those are still around, but we’re going to do it. We’ll see if I come out of that place alive, but we’re going to do it.”
Dana also expects to take the UFC to Sweden this year as well.
— Following yesterday’s news that Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann was off again, Dana White told reporters the fight is back on once again for UFC 130. Hes still convincing Wand that everyone won’t hate him if he fights Stann, but says “it’s on.”