Rousimar Palhares will fight on network television after all.
After turning down a primetime spot opposite Demian Maia at UFC on Fox 2, Palhares has agreed to meet Alan Belcher in a key middleweight tilt at UFC on Fox 3, slated for May 5 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. UFC President Dana White announced the match-up on Monday via Twitter.
Both men are established Octagon veterans with a 15-6 combined promotional record, and have driven their name into title contention on the wings of recent three-fight win streaks.
At 31 years old, Palhares (14-3) cemented his reputation as MMA's fiercest leg lock practitioner by tapping out Mike Massenzio via heel hook in just 63 seconds at UFC 142, earning his second ‘Submission of the Night' bonus in the process. "Toquinho" has now tasted victory in six of his last seven contests, with four of those wins ending via kneebar or heel hook.
Likewise, Belcher (17-6) has proven to be one of the middleweight division's most devastating finishers, with 15 of his 17 wins staying out of the judges' hands. The 27-year-old standout recently returned from a 16-month layoff after undergoing emergency eye surgery in mid-2010, to blitz through Jason MacDonald en route to a first-round stoppage at UFC Fight Night 25. The win pushed Belcher's record to 5-1 over his last six fights, including ‘Submission of the Night' victories over Patrick Cote and Denis Kang.