by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender Alan ‘The Talent’ Belcher will look to make it three-straight victories when he steps into the cage to face tough veteran fighter Ricardo Almeida on Feb. 2 at UFC 81 in Las Vegas.

Belcher stopped “The Ultimate Fighter” star Kalib Starnes by TKO at UFC 77 in Cincinnati and is proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the 185-pound class.

Belcher on Friday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that he will face Almeida. He said of his future opponent, “He beat Nate Marquardt by submission and Ryo Chonan by decision and his jiu-jitsu is really good, so it is going to be a good fight.”

The Renzo Gracie-trained Almeida has not competed in mixed martial arts since May 23, 2004, but his last two wins were over quality opponents.

The fight is a good measuring stick for both fighters. A win over the former middleweight King of Pancrase would likely show that Belcher is ready to compete for a championship. For Almeida, a win over the young Southerner would immediately mark his return to title contention.