Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar
Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Erik Koch, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Vitor Belfort and Alan Belcher were all removed from the main card of UFC 153. There should be no way a card that injury riddled could possibly recover. Well, you can thank some MMA legends for saving the card a month before the event was due to air live in Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will once again play host to another major event as UFC 153 enters the HSBC Arena on October 13th. The event will be headlined by UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva, as he moves up to Light-Heavyweight to take on Stephan ‘The American Psycho’ Bonnar. You can always rely on the Brazilian fighters to step up and put on a show in front of their home crowd and this should be no different. There are six main card bouts that will be aired live on Pay-Per-View. There will be four preliminary bouts that will be aired live on Sportsnet in Canada and FX in the US. The remaining two bouts on the card will be aired live on Facebook.
Now to the breakdown:
Anderson Silva (32-4) vs. Stephan Bonnar (15-7)
Is Anderson Silva the greatest fighter in the history of MMA? You could argue that pretty well. After beating Chael Sonnen for a second and far more decisive time back in July, the Middleweight champion makes his return to the Light-Heavyweight division to take on The Ultimate Fighter legend, Stephan Bonnar. Go ahead and write this off as a victory for Silva if you want. You might feel stupid after the fight, though. Bonnar will make Silva work. He will do it in a way that Chael makes you work. The difference is that Bonnar is a lot bigger than Chael, he can take a punch better than Chael and he is, overall, a better-rounded fighter with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and tae kwon do. Just ask Jon Jones how he felt about the toughness of Bonnar.
Silva did not accept this fight because it was going to be an easy win. He is coming out to prove that his smaller frame will not be a factor. People expect Bonnar to fight like Forrest and get completely dominated. Well, Forrest did beat Bonnar twice but that is because styles make fights. This is a style that actually has a chance to go the distance. Bonnar will push forward, swing for the fences and utilize what one would not usually consider a ‘gameplan’. Bonnar is going to Brazil not to try to ‘keep up’ with Silva, but to beat Silva. He will look for takedowns, get top control and try to beat up the champion. He will push him up against the cage and try to throw bombs with a more accurate and talented fighter. The fact is that Bonnar just does not care! Do not underestimate this fight. It might be one of the better fights fans have watched in a while. Bonnar goes to war and Silva welcomes all challenges. Silva should come out on top but unless Bonnar gets a nasty cut, he should drag this fight into a very entertaining decision. If you are a MMA fan and you do not like this fight, you have become spoiled. These are the fights that helped MMA become exciting. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Prediction: Silva via Unanimous Decision
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-7-1) vs. Dave Herman (21-4)
Give credit to Silva and Bonnar for stepping up and giving the show a realistic headliner. Also give some credit to Dave Herman, who is on a two fight losing streak, for willingly going into hostile territory to take on Brazilian national hero, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. This should be an interesting fight for the Heavyweight division. If Nogueira wins, he once again moves back up as a legitimate threat to the division despite his recent injury trouble and losing three of his last five (he was finished all three times). Dave Herman has put himself in a complicated position. This is virtually a must win for him. He was definitively finished in his last two bouts against Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson. He has the proper skills to succeed in the UFC but he tends to lack motivation as well as a gas tank good enough to let him keep up with the best, and Nogueira is one of the best.
Herman likes to make fights ugly. He will make it a brawl but with the recent improvement of Nogueira’s boxing, it will not be easy for Herman to come out on top. Nogueira knocked out Brendan Schaub back in August of 2011 when everybody had counted him out. He had Frank Mir beat until he unnecessarily went to his instincts and tried to submit him, which led to his demise. He generally is a good decision maker and has excellent recovery if Herman does manage to tag him. Herman needs to make sure he gets the best of Nogueira on the feet. He has solid stand up and decent power but his decision making seems to suit the smaller market fighters. Against a much improved Nogueira, he likely will not succeed.
Prediction: Nogueira via TKO Round 1
Glover Teixeira (18-2) vs. Fabio Maldonado (18-5)
After an extremely impressive debut, Glover Teixeira is back and going up against Fabio Maldonado. His originally scheduled bout with Rampage Jackson would have been an exciting step up in competition for Glover, but never underestimate a fighter like Fabio. Both fighters get their first shot at fighting in Brazil under the UFC banner. Glover has been talked about as ‘the next big thing’ in the Light-Heavyweight division and it never hurts to have a mentor like Chuck Liddell. Fabio has hit a rough patch in his last two fights. You could easily argue that he deserves to be undefeated in the UFC but the unfortunate reality of the sport is that when it comes down to the judges, you lose complete control of the 15 minutes you just fought. Both have awesome boxing and it should be a war. Fabio will work the body and continuously go low whenever Glover tries to clinch. He will frustrate Glover when the distance is closed. Glover has nasty power and Fabio must hope his rock solid chin does not give out. The fight likely will not hit the ground but both guys have legitimate grappling credentials. Glover has dominant top position but Fabio is phenomenal at sweeping from the bottom. Both fighters will go back and forth and Glover should come out on top, but not as dominant as most expect.
Prediction: Teixeira via Rear Naked Choke Round 3
Erick Silva (14-2) vs. Jon Fitch (23-4-1)
Glover is not the only hyped Brazilian on the card. Erick Silva is coming off of a big win over Charlie Brenneman, where he proved that his wild and aggressive Muay Thai will not stop him from dominating wrestlers that are going to push forward and try to get him on his back. Jon Fitch is one of those wrestlers. The difference is that Fitch has been known to be one of the best and least appreciated fighters in the UFC for a long time. His fighting style has been known to be a cure for insomnia, which is the complete opposite of Silva. Fitch will always look to use his wrestling and push his opponents up against the cage to use some dirty boxing.
Silva is as explosive as anybody in MMA. He will throw a variety of strikes in a short period of time and they are surprisingly precise and powerful. Patience may be the key for Silva in this fight. If he waits for his opportunity, he could damage Fitch and put him out. If Fitch gets his hands on Silva, it could potentially be a frustrating fight for the Brazilian prospect. Both fighters will push the pace so the outcome will almost surely revolve around who is able to fight their fight. It will either be Fitch with his ability to grind out a decision or Silva and his ability to move forward and make you brawl with him. It will not be easy for either but this is Silva’s time to shine. It should be interesting to see how he handles a top tier wrestler but his power and grappling should help him pass the test.
Prediction: Silva via TKO Round 2
Wagner Prado (8-0) vs. Phil Davis (9-1)
The first time Wagner Prado and Phil Davis met inside the Octagon, the fight was unfortunately called a No Contest due to an eye poke. Though the fight was less than a minute and a half long, there was something interesting to note: Davis did not look comfortable. Prado has awesome Thai striking and he will throw kicks both high and low and will be glad to throw knees if Davis shoots for a takedown. For Davis, this fight is all about timing. After he looked nearly unbeatable in his first few fights in the UFC, people are started to see that Davis’ striking is his biggest weakness. His athleticism, strength and wrestling have made him a successful fighter but he will need to develop some better counter striking for him to become a top Light Heavyweight. If Davis is unable to get this fight to the ground, he likely will not fair so well against a powerful Brazilian striker. Prado will likely move forward and swing for the finish. Davis needs to duck under and get power takedowns and control from top position. It likely will not be so easy but Davis should be able to get back into the win column.
Prediction: Davis via Unanimous Decision
Demian Maia (16-4) vs. Rick Story (14-5)
Dropping to Welterweight may be one of the best decisions Demian Maia will have ever made. He looked great early in his career until fighters started to figure out how not to get submitted by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu stud. He will be taking on Rick Story, who has hit a bit of a rough patch after getting the biggest win of his career against Thiago Alves. He was able to get back into the win column against Brock Jardine, which does not exactly help us figure out how Story will perform against top competition. Both fighters are aggressive grapplers that try to gain top position and control the fight. The difference is that Maia fights for position to get submissions while Story attempts to smother his opponents, using effective ground and pound to score points.
Story will likely try to clinch with Maia and get him up against the cage if his striking is not going well. Dirty boxing may be his best option for winning this fight. If he gets Maia on the ground, it may be the biggest mistake of his career. Maia is a wizard on the ground. He could submit just about anybody in MMA. Both fighters will likely avoid standing up and try to move the fight to their advantage. Expect Maia to eventually get the fight to the ground like he was able to against Dong Hyun Kim before Kim’s unfortunate injury. He should be able to control the fight and get the decision win and continue climbing the Welterweight ladder.
Prediction: Maia via Unanimous Decision