Monday Morning Retrospective: A Look Back at UFC 153 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The dust has settled and once again UFC fans were treated to a highly entertaining night of fights. A main card that featured six bouts completely delivered in every fight. Five out of six fights on the main card ended without the need for the judge’s scorecards and the only one that required the services of the judge’s won the bonus check for Fight of the Night. Let’s take a look at all of the fights from Saturday’s Pay Per View card and examine what went wrong for each fighter, what went right for each fighter, and most importantly, where they go from here.
Demian Maia defeated Rick Story via Submission (Neck Crank/Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Domination. That’s the only word that comes to mind when you take a look at his fight. In the pre-fight hype it came down to whether or not Maia; an accomplished grappler and BJJ black belt could earn a takedown against a wrestler as solid as Rick Story. The answer was a resounding yes, as Maia effortlessly worked a takedown, transitioned to back mount and locked in a Rear Naked Choke so brutal that it caused Story’s nose to bleed. With the victory, his second straight first round stoppage since dropping to Welterweight, he put the 170-pounders in the UFC on notice that he is a force to be reckoned with.
What’s next for Maia? He’s now beat two solid mid-level fighters. It’s time for a step up in competition, and perhaps someone with the wrestling credentials to force him to test his striking skills. John Hathaway recently improved his record at Welterweight and has the wrestling skills to test Maia.
What’s next for Story? Story was once considered a top prospect at 170-pounds, but has suffered a couple of setbacks recently. Despite past wins over top fighters like Johnny Hendricks and Thiago Alves, Story needs to take a slight step back in competition. Jay Hieron recently lost to Jake Ellenberger and would provide a good measuring stick for Story’s current place in the UFC.
Phil Davis defeated Wagner Prado via Submission (Anaconda Choke) in Round 2
For all the talk of how bad Davis’ striking looked in the opening minutes of his first bout with Prado, before the eye-poke fiasco, he didn’t fare too badly in this bout. Davis showed an increased awareness in the striking game, pawing his jab before switching levels and working for takedowns. On the ground he completely controlled the Brazilian and showed why he is a top grappler at 205-pounds. His finishing transition was seamless and impressive as he transitioned from a deep side choke straight into an anaconda choke for the victory.
What’s next for Davis? The former Penn State Wrestler is in a bit of a weird spot here. He just got dominated by Rashad Evans in a Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator fight, and has been tied up with a relative unknown in Prado since. He needs a significant step up in competition, but there are not very many fighters available that fit the bill. The best I can think of is the Winner of the upcoming Thiago Silva/Stanislav Nedkov bout, or Mauricio “Shogun” Rua should he lose to Davis’ teammate and training partner Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5.
What’s next for Prado? Prado looked kind of helpless on the mat, but Davis is one of the best grappler’s in the division, so we have to cut him some slack. A bout against Kyle Kingsbury would make sense, but he’d probably have to wait for Kingsbury’s face to heal after his most recent loss. Maybe Joey Beltran, he’s always willing to throw hands, at least it would make an entertaining fight before someone gets a pink slip.
Jon Fitch defeated Erick Silva via Unanimous Decision
Jon Fitch may have solved all of his problems with one highly entertaining bout. Lauded for years as playing it too safe, or being boring, Fitch brought the fight to Silva. It nearly cost him in the second round, as Silva had a tight submission, but Fitch fought through all that. He came back in the third round and completely laid into Silva, blasting him with leather from full mount, trying desperately to earn a finish. He didn’t get it, but he did earn a Fight of the Night bonus, something he’s very unaccustomed to.
What’s next for Fitch? Jake Ellenberger has a similar skillset to Fitch and has big power in his hands. Both are headed towards the upper echelon of 170-pound contender’s, it would only make sense for them to meet each other on the way up.
What’s next for Silva? He looked impressive in defeat and handled adversity well compared to some others who have folded against the ground attack of Fitch. He’s still very young and still has a ton of potential. A fight against a big name opponent like Dan Hardy would do well. But the UFC prefers to match up fighters coming off of a loss, so perhaps Amir Sadollah might make more sense.
Glover Teixeira defeated Fabio Maldonado via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in Round 2
Fabio Maldonado has one hell of a chin and a ton of heart. That’s what he showed in this bout, despite the massive ass kicking he was taking he was still dishing it out and wanted to keep fighting even as the doctors waved the fight off. Glover Teixeira in defeat looks absolutely like the top prospect at 205-pounds that he was billed to be. Ten rounds of pummeling Maldonado on the ground left his opponent’s face a mess and the rest of the division nervous.
What’s next for Teixeira? In the post-fight press conference he expressed interest in a fight with Rampage Jackson, which was the original plan for his bout at UFC 153. A number of opponents turned down a fight with Glover, and after watching his performance at UFC 153 I’m sure many of them were happy about it. Rampage said he still wants to fight Teixeira, I say make it happen.
What’s next for Maldonado? His showing of heart and chin is sure to earn him a reprieve from the company. Dana and company love a guy who’s willing to step up on late notice and throw leather even when they’re getting pummeled, which is basically all that Maldonado showed in this fight. A fight against other main card loser Wagner Prado might make the most sense.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Dave Herman via Submission (Armbar) in Round 2
Many people, myself included thought that Nogueira may be losing a step or two as he headed into the Octagon in front of his countrymen. He proved us all wrong by dominating Dave Herman in all aspects of the fight game. He also made Herman eat his words that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a useless art form, as he used a dazzling display of BJJ to earn an armbar submission as well as the Submission of the Night bonus check.
What’s next for Nogueira? After the bout he dispelled rumors of possible retirement and said he’s ready to keep fighting. The question of who to match him up with is an intriguing problem. Some time ago he was scheduled to fight Cheick Kongo before he had to pull out due to injury, that bout still makes sense. But perhaps the most intriguing would be a third meeting between Big Nog and Josh Barnett if the latter moves to the UFC from Strikeforce.
What’s next for Herman? Unemployment possibly? The UFC is likely to keep him since they could always use Heavyweights who are willing to trade leather, because really what fan doesn’t love a Heavyweight slugfest? Perhaps a bout with Lavar Johnson that would surely lead to fireworks and a possible pink slip for the loser.
Anderson Silva defeated Stephan Bonnar via TKO (Punches) in Round 1
It was what it was supposed to be. A relatively one-sided thrashing for the Middleweight Champion. Bonnar found a slight bit of success early on in the fight, charging in for a takedown and pressuring Silva against the cage. Once he realized that he couldn’t take Anderson down, that’s when the wheels fell off. The Brazilian clowned around for a few minutes, walking with his hands down and taking a few shots on the chin just to prove something. From there he went on the offensive and a huge knee to the sternum put Bonnar in the fetal position. A few punches from there and that was all she wrote.
What’s next for Silva? If you’re to believe Dana White a bout with Jon Jones, however, Anderson said in a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that he was done fighting at Light Heavyweight. Perhaps a catch weight bout with Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is finally in the cards, provided GSP gets by Carlos Condit in November. If not maybe Chris Weidman finally gets his Middleweight title shot.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]What’s next for Bonnar? Retirement… again. Bonnar was in a brief hiatus/semi-retirement before this bout came to pass. According to Bonnar himself he was only looking for big fights, with guys who have more Twitter followers than him… seriously. If he chooses to forego a return to retirement, perhaps the unnecessary third fight with Forrest Griffin (provided he loses to Chael Sonnen at UFC 155.) A fight that would prove a fitting end to both men’s careers.
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