Alan Belcher claimed a hugely impressive victory over Rousimar Palhares tonight in front of millions of fans watching on FOX.

All the talk pre-fight was about Palhares extremely deadly leg locks, and right on cue, within moments of the fight starting he took Belcher down and was looking to take one of his limbs home with him.

Belcher stayed calm though and attempted to distract the Brazilian by going for a submission of his own. With the two contorted on the mat Belcher looked like he was trying for a ‘twister’ submission, but he wasn’t able to secure it and Palhares went back to his own selection of submissions.

He threatened with a heel hook, but to Belcher’s credit he seemed to be well versed on how to defend and after some a tense stand-off he was able to steer himself out of danger and eventually managed to not only break free, but also end up in top control.

Surprisingly Belcher wasn’t in a hurry to escape the ground game and instead looked to make Palhares pay on the mat, and it quickly proved to be a good decision as he dropped down a big elbow that seemed to stun his opponent.

Sensing that he was hurt Belcher then poured on the pressure with a full-scale ground and pound assault, and eventually with Palhares doing little to defend himself the referee stepped in to save him from further damage with 4.18mins on the clock.

Terrific stuff from Belcher and showcased both his ability to finish fights, but the fact that he’s far more than just a striker with an excellent display of defensive jiu-jitsu to boot.

This is the kind of performance that’s really going to boost his long-held desire to fight for the title, while simultaneously pushing Palhares out of that picture in the process.