Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Fight Night 25 Preview: Alan Belcher vs. Jason MacDonald

It’s been about a year now since I started working on SILVA, and as you might imagine, a lot of SILVA scores have been processed throughout that time. Included in the SILVA score processing is every fighter to compete in the UFC over the past year, along with a few Strikeforce fighters and some assorted fighters in other promotions as well. Heck, I even processed Royce Gracie’s SILVA score. So there are very few fighters in the UFC whose SILVA score has not been processed yet.

One of those fighters is Alan Belcher. Unfortunately, Belcher has been unable to compete in the UFC since beating Patrick Cote at UFC 113 in May 2010, due to a detached retina in his right eye. Understandably, Belcher seems to have handled the issue in a very careful manner, and now he’s back and ready to take on Jason MacDonald. However, his long layoff means that I haven’t yet processed his SILVA score.

Now, before Belcher was out, he was making a lot of noise about wanting a title shot. I think the logic behind this is: Belcher beat Patrick Cote, Cote was once a title challenger, therefore Belcher should get a title shot. First of all, I don’t think Cote ever deserved a title shot in the first place. Now, with that having been said, let’s look at the seven wins and four losses of Belcher’s UFC career:

WINS

  • Patrick Cote – UFC 113
  • Wilson Gouveia – UFC 107
  • Denis Kang – UFC 93
  • Ed Herman – UFC Fight Night 15
  • Kalib Starnes – UFC 77
  • Sean Salmon – UFC 71
  • Jorge Santiago – UFC Fight Night 7

Who represents the best win there? Cote? Herman? Santiago? No matter who you pick, this isn’t a list that screams “title shot.”

LOSSES

  • Yoshihiro Akiyama – UFC 100
  • Jason Day – UFC 83
  • Kendall Grove – UFC 69
  • Yushin Okami – UFC 62

Kendall Grove? Jason Day?? Blech. Not only that, Day beat Belcher by first-round TKO. That’s a very problematic loss as far as I’m concerned. This guy was asking for a title shot?

Even in the contender-starved middleweight division, there’s no justification for letting Alan Belcher anywhere near a title shot. Now, if Belcher puts together a few wins and beats some tougher opponents, we can talk, but beating guys like Wilson Gouveia just isn’t good enough.

To be fair, Belcher isn’t still asking for a title shot, not after his rehab process, and it’s very reasonable to give him an opponent in the bottom half of the UFC middleweight division. Somebody like… Jason MacDonald. I was surprised when the UFC brought MacDonald back to fight John Salter at UFC 113; it seemed to me that MacDonald had been shown to be, at best, on the outer fringes of being good enough to compete in the promotion. Despite this, MacDonald is usually good for a good fight, and he has very good ground skills. If MacDonald can get this fight to the ground, he should be a very tough opponent for Belcher to beat.

If MacDonald struggles to take Belcher down, then he’s in trouble. MacDonald’s striking is quite unremarkable, while Belcher is a decent striker trained by Duke Roufus. Now, I only say “decent”… I’ll provide a link to the Fight Metric stats for Belcher, and let you decide if I should use an adjective better than that. He’s still better at it than MacDonald.

SILVA PREDICTION: ALAN BELCHER (27.48) OVER JASON MACDONALD (26.55)

I don’t hate Alan Belcher, I really don’t… but I feel that there are plenty of people who have been suckered into the idea that Belcher is a top middleweight, or some kind of title contender. There’s nothing in Belcher’s fight history that suggests that he’s either of those things. Now, Belcher is a very decent fighter, and clearly good enough to hang around in the UFC, but I would drop any thoughts of Belcher being a potential champion or anything like that. That doesn’t mean he’s not good enough to beat Jason MacDonald, and despite the long layoff, I like Belcher to at least do that.

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