The UFC has closed the book on another free event on network television and they have to be pleased with the results. Although the broadcast started with some technical issues, and many fans were left complaining when some Fox affiliates switched to re-runs of the Big Bang Theory during the main event of the evening, fans were treated to some exciting fights and brutal finishes throughout the night. Topping it all off is strong ratings results, which peaked at 3.77 million viewers for the broadcast.
Featuring a nasty, bloody and brutally violent ground and pound finish, some of the most scintillating striking on the planet, a Light Heavyweight slugfest and two of the UFC’s fastest athletes battling it out for a full 25-minutes, this card had it all. Let’s take a look at the fights, and see what’s next for each main card fighter.
Featherweight Bout: Ricardo Lamas defeated Erik Koch via TKO (Elbows and Punches) at 2:52 of Round 2
What began as a well-matched chess match between two great fighters got violent quickly. In the first Lamas looked to take Koch to the ground, but Koch defended well and was able to get off some decent shots before the closing of a very close first round. In the second round, an inadvertent slip by Lamas spelled the end for Koch. He tried to follow Lamas to the ground, but tripped himself and ended up underneath of Lamas after a brief scramble. From there Lamas fired off some nasty elbows and punches, one of which opened a gruesome cut on Koch’s face. It certainly left the Fox executives feeling antsy as they refused to show Koch after the fight and even spray-painted over the blood inside the cage.
What’s next for Lamas? Likely the winner of the upcoming UFC Featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 next weekend. Lamas is now 4-0 since dropping down to the Featherweight division and has looked more and more impressive with each consecutive win. Throw in the quality of names he’s beaten in his past three bouts Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch and he surely deserves a shot.
What’s next for Koch? A bit of time to get back into the swing and a chance to rebuild himself. He needs to prove that he can handle talented grapplers as well as strikers, so someone well rounded enough to challenge his skills. Perhaps a bout with Nam Phan or Diego Nunes who both recently suffered losses would work for Koch.
Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis defeated Donald Cerrone via TKO (Liver Kick) at 2:35 of Round 1
This one had Fight of the Night contender written all over it, unfortunately for fans, it didn’t last long enough to live up to the hype. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis certainly lived up to his nickname, throwing a wild variety of flashy strikes at Cerrone en-route to a one-sided beating. In the end it wasn’t a capoeira wheel kick or a Showtime Knee off of the cage that did the job, but a steady liver kick that ended Cerrone’s night. With the TKO victory Pettis became the first man to ever stop Cerrone via Strikes.
What’s next for Pettis? Dana White was finally convinced that Pettis deserves a title shot that has eluded him in the past. With Benson Henderson scheduled to defend his Lightweight title against final Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez at the next UFC event on Fox, I would expect Pettis to be cage side for a post fight stare down.
What’s next for Cerrone? Let’s take a look at the people who have been successful against ‘Cowboy’ in the past, Pettis, Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson, the last title challenger, a future title challenger and the current champion. Cerrone remains a tough test for almost any other fighter and his success outside of the top 3 makes him a viable gatekeeper for the division. A bout with Joe Lauzon could be highly entertaining, as could a bout against Thiago Tavares.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira defeated Quinton Jackson via Unanimous Decision after 3 Rounds
This was supposed to be Rampage’s final bout in the UFC and many people thought he would come in out of shape and simply there for a paycheck. That proved not to be the case, but he was still soundly outclassed by Teixeira. Teixeira was certainly not flawless in victory but he managed to land some big blows, including a few that wobbled the usually iron-chinned Rampage. He also used well-timed takedowns and ground and pound to control the action the rest of the way. It was a fairly dominant performance, but probably not quite enough to elevate him to top contender status as of yet.
What’s next for Teixeira? He looked good beating up on Rampage, but that story is kind of getting old for a lot of fans. Jackson isn’t the fighter he once was, and although the Brazilian dominated him, he still showed some weaknesses that will need to be shored up before his next contest. Only two fighters really make sense to me for him at this point, Ryan Bader who came off an impressive victory on the undercard, or Rashad Evans should he get by Lil’ Nog at UFC 156 next weekend.
What’s next for Rampage? Retirement maybe? It’s probably his best option, but there’s still a lot of money to be made for him in smaller organizations so I doubt he’ll hang ‘em up. He seemed to be admitting to himself after the fight that he wasn’t a top tier fighter anymore, but he’ll still command top dollar on the open market. I expect to see him in Bellator or regional promotions knocking out cans for years to come.
UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Dodson via Unanimous Decision after 5 Rounds
The first title defense for the UFC’s Flyweight champion got off to a bit of a rough start. He was dropped a couple of times in the first two rounds and seemed a bit surprised to be in the cage with someone who could match his speed. Still even after dropping a couple of rounds and being dropped, he continued to push the pace and in the championship rounds he let his conditioning to the talking for him. With Dodson’s gas fading Johnson showed off some impressive Muay Thai skills, battering the challenger with knees from the Thai plum. In the end he couldn’t find a finish in the final round, but he did seal up a Unanimous Decision.
What’s next for Johnson? Unfortunately with a division this young, there is a bit of a lack of challengers. That usually leads to rematches, which is somewhat unfortunate but necessary while the natural contenders emerge themselves. John Moraga and Louis Gaudinot are emerging as contenders, but the biggest stars other than the champion are Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall. They face off next weekend, with the winner likely to get a title shot even though they have a combined 0-2-1 record against Johnson in the past.
What’s next for Dodson? Anyone really. He’s a tough match up for anyone and he’s highly entertaining. Any Flyweight will probably do, but it’d be best to keep him away from the major up and comers. Perhaps a bout against Louis Gaudinot in a battle of former TUF alums.
Free fights, free fights, free fights! The UFC continues it’s 2013 roll with yet another night of free fights, this weekend it’s on major network television as the UFC presents UFC on Fox 6. After some weak ratings during 2012, Fox executives must have told the UFC to seriously step up their games for their Fox offerings in 2013, as this is the second straight UFC on Fox event to be headlined by a title fight. This weekend it’s the UFC’s smallest fighters who take center stage as the UFC Flyweight title will be on the line in the main event as Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson takes on TUF-champion John ‘The Magician’ Dodson.
Light Heavyweight action is slotted for the co-main event as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is set to make what is expected to be his final octagon appearance against the man he was supposed to battle months ago in Brazil; Glover Teixeira. A fight with Fight of the Year potential is also on the card as Lightweights Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis lock horns in a grudge match with serious title implications in the 155-pound division. Opening the main card is a Featherweight bout between top-10 fighters Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas, where an impressive showing by either fighter could earn them a shot against the winner of next weekend’s UFC 156 Featherweight title main event.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Simeon Thoresen vs. David Mitchell
Simeon “The Grin” Thoresen is a 28-year-old fighter from Sandejford, Norway. He is a member of Hellboy MMA training under famed Norwegian fighter Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen in Oslo, Norway. Thoresen holds a professional record of 17-3-1. David “Daudi” Mitchell is a 33-year-old fighter from Windsor, California. Fighting out of Santa Rosa, California he is a member of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance. Mitchell holds a career record of 11-2.
Quick Pick: Simeon Thoresen via Submission in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer
Rafael “Sapo” Natal is a 30-year-old fighter from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu he is a member of the Gracie Fusion Gym in New York City, New York. He holds a career record of 14-4-1. Sean “Black Magic” Spencer is a fighter from Bluefield, Virginia. He will be making his UFC debut and trains out of the Octagon MMA Gym in Virginia. He holds a career record of 9-1.
Quick Pick: Rafael Natal via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Mike Stumpf vs. Pascal Krauss
Pascal “Panzer” Krauss is a 25-year-old German fighter from Breisach, West Germany. Krauss now trains in the United States with the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Krauss holds a career record of 10-1. Mike Stumpf is a 29-year-old fighter from Crystal Lake, Illinois. He is a member of the Team Curran Gym training under famed coach and fighter Jeff “Big Frog” Curran. He holds a career record of 11-3.
Quick Pick: Pascal Krauss via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Heavyweight Bout: Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan
Mike Russow is a 36-year-old fighter from Kankakee, Illinois. A police officer in his hometown of Chicago, he is also a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who trains with the DeatchClutch Gym in Minnesota. Russow holds a career record of 15-2-1. Shawn “The Savage” Jordan is a 28-year-old fighter from El Paso, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 13-4.
Quick Pick: Mike Russow via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Ryan “Darth” Bader is a 29-year-old fighter from Reno, Nevada. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who was a cast member and the eventual winner of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Bader trains with the Power MMA Team in Tempe, Arizona and holds a career record of 14-3. Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko is a 42-year-old fighter from Recyca, Russia. The Belarusian now trains and resides in El Segundo, California. He holds a career record of 26-6.
Quick Pick: Ryan Bader via TKO in Round One
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki
Clay “The Carpenter” Guida is a 31-year-old fighter from Round Lake, Illinois. Guida trains with Greg Jackson’s team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guida will be making his Featherweight debut in this fight. He holds a professional MMA record of 29-13. Hatsu “Iron Broom” Hioki is a 29-year-old fighter from Nagoya, Japan. Hioki trains at the ALIVE Shooto Academy in Nagoya, Japan but also spends time training in Canada at the Tristar Gym. Hioki holds a career record of 26-5-2.
Quick Pick: Clay Guida via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman
T.J. Grant is a 28-year-old Canadian fighter from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. With a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who trains at the Fit Plus Gym in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He holds a career record of 19-5. “Handsome” Matt Wiman is a 29-year-old fighter from Denver, Colorado. Wiman trains with the Kline Brothers at Easton BJJ Gym in Arvada, Colorado. Wiman holds a career record of 15-6.
Quick Pick: T.J. Grant via Split Decision
Main Card (Fox): Featherweight Bout: Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas
Erik “New Breed” Koch is a 24-year-old fighter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Koch has been training in Tae Kwan Do since the age of four. Koch is a member of the Roufusport Gym training out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Koch joined the WEC in 2009 and has compiled a record of 5-1 inside the UFC and WEC, combined with 2 Knockout of the Night performances. He is a talented striker, but is competing for the first time in over a year after a major knee injury. He holds a career record of 13-1.
Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas is a 30-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. He trains at the MMA Masters Gym in Miami, Florida. Lamas is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is also a former NCAA Wrestler from Elmhurst College. Lamas is a talented grappler with a smothering top control game, nasty ground and pound and excellent submissions from the top. Lamas is currently 3-0 inside the UFC’s Featherweight division and is ranked in the top 5 in the weight class according to most publications, a strong showing here could catapult him to contender status. He holds a professional fighting record of 12-2.
Analysis and Prediction: Erik Koch was most recently scheduled to challenge Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title, but injuries have kept him out of action for over 16 months, that kind of ring rust will always have an effect on your performance. Koch is an aggressive and dynamic striker, while Lamas usually prefers a more ground-based approach, so it’ll certainly be an interesting contrast in game plans. Lamas is a former NCAA Wrestler and Koch has been controlled by a strong wrestler in Chad Mendes in the past. However, he has stuffed almost every other Featherweights takedowns in the UFC and has proven very tough to control. Koch will probably start slow, but he’s young and he can overcome the potential ring rust. After a shaky opening round he rallies back to win via TKO late in the fight. Erik Koch via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Fox): Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is a 25-year-old fighter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the final WEC Lightweight Champion, who holds a career victory over current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. Despite being passed over a number of times for promised title shots, he remains at the top of his division and could earn a title shot with an impressive victory. Pettis is a talented and innovative striker who is best known for his famous ‘Showtime Kick’ in the WEC. Pettis owns a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Pettis is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, where he trains under famed Muay Thai kick boxer and MMA trainer Duke Roufus. He holds a professional MMA record of 15-2.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a 29-year-old fighter from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cerrone is a tough and well-rounded fighter but does his best work in the striking department. Cerrone is a former professional Muay Thai kick boxer and often relies on those skills as the basis of his overall MMA game. Cerrone is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico where he trains daily with some of the best fighters in the sport. Cerrone is an aggressive and highly entertaining fighter with excellent cardio who constantly puts the pressure on his opponents. Despite his excellent striker he is also a capable grappler with strong submissions from top control. Cerrone holds a professional record of 19-4 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: This one has Fight of the Night written all over it, in fact Dana has probably already prepared the bonus checks for these two. They’ve engaged in a war of words for well over a year now and will finally get the chance to settle their differences in the cage. Pettis is a talented and innovative striker, who is also competent on the ground. Cerrone is also a capable striker who has been much more active since Pettis has been off for injury. If Pettis can shake off the ring rust early and get into a rhythm he has all the skills to knock Cerrone off of his game. However, Cerrone is a dangerous fighter with big power and excellent kickboxing who throws with bad intentions all the time and has the cardio to do it for three full rounds. The only person with a ton of success against Cerrone was the volume-boxing style of Nate Diaz. That’s not Pettis’ bread and butter, but if he’s smart he’s watched that fight over and over and incorporated some of that volume striking into his game, the key for him will be to keep Cerrone on his toes and on the defensive, not allowing him to get comfortable for any extended periods of time. If he does that he takes what will surely be a close and entertaining decision victory. Anthony Pettis via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Fox): Light Heavyweight Bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a 34-year-old fighter from Memphis, Tennessee. Despite being only 34-years-old he has been fighting professionally since 1999, getting his start in King of the Cage, but becoming widely known for his time spent in PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. Jackson is highly entertaining both inside the cage and outside of it, but he has struggled in some of his more recent bouts. Many have credited his decision to begin acting on a part time basis as the reasons for his struggles. Despite those struggles, he remains a dangerous match up for almost any fighter as he has decent takedowns and knockout power in both of his hands combined with strong counter punching skills. He is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in the UK, but also trains at his own gym in Irvine, California. Rampage holds a professional MMA record of 32-10.
Glover Teixeira is a 33-year-old fighter from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Despite his Brazilian heritage he now lives and trains in the United States with John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo, California. Teixeira is an extremely talented grappler with excellent takedowns, a strong submission game from top control and nasty ground and pound. Teixeira is a former member of the Brazilian National Wrestling Team and combined with his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has one of the best ground games in the Light Heavyweight division. Teixeira holds a professional MMA record of 19-2 and hasn’t lost since March of 2005.
Analysis and Prediction: Rampage has been exposed on the ground before, most recently by wrestling standout Ryan Bader. While Teixeira may not be as an accomplished amateur wrestler as Bader, he is still a talented and capable grappler with strong takedowns who is sure to use a similar game plan. Rampage has two big weapons, his fists and that’s about it, otherwise he’s fairly one-dimensional. He has trouble adapting a new game plan mid-fight, he rarely checks leg kicks allowing his lead leg to get battered in the process and his defensive grappling from his back is almost non-existent. I hate to bash Rampage like this, but he’s not the feared Light Heavyweight that he once was and to be honest, the UFC probably won’t miss him when he’s gone. Teixeira is too smart to fight into Rampage strengths, so expect a steady stream of thudding leg kicks followed up by takedowns before the Brazilian eventually grabs hold of a submission in the second. Glover Teixeira via Submission in Round Two
Main Card (Fox): Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is the UFC’s first ever Flyweight Champion and will be defending his title in this bout. A former Bantamweight title challenger, he made the cut down to 125-pounds when the UFC announced the 4-man mini tournament for the title last year. Johnson is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym, training in Kirkland, Washington under the tutelage of world-class coach Matt “The Wizard” Hume. Johnson is a fast, accurate and technically sound striker who uses great movement, speed and footwork to compliment his boxing. Johnson is also a capable wrestler with strong takedowns and an excellent top control game. Johnson holds a career record of 16-2-1.
John “The Magician” Dodson is a 28-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is best known to fans as a cast member and the eventual winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Mayhem vs. Bisping season. Dodson is an accurate boxer who throws with a lot of power for a Flyweight. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico and holds a black belt in GaidoJutsu under coach Jackson. One of Dodson’s biggest assets is his physical strength and athleticism, as these traits make him incredibly difficult to take down and control. In fact on the show he claimed to have never been taken down in a fight. Dodson holds a career record of 14-5.
Analysis and Prediction: Dodson is a physically strong and athletic fighter who has speed and big power for the Flyweight division. He often foregoes tight, crisp boxing for wild haymakers that pack more power, but often leaves him exposed to counter-strikes. Sounds a lot like describing Joseph Benavidez there. If you remember correctly, Johnson just defeated Benavidez by using an approach custom tailored to avoid the big power shots of Benavidez and used excellent footwork to outland him. Given the similarities in opponents, I would expect a somewhat similar approach from Johnson this time around.
The key for Johnson against Benavidez was constantly circling away from the power punches of Benavidez and mixing his kicks and punches well to keep him off balance. Dodson is probably a better technical striker than Benavidez, but he often foregoes that technical approach in a more balls-to-the-wall striking style. The problem for Johnson will be that Dodson is probably the most athletically gifted and speediest fighter that he has come up against. Benavidez and Ian McCall are tough fighters who are quick on the feet and have good hand speed, but Dodson is certainly a slight step above them on the speed ladder.
In the end we know that Johnson has the gas tank to go for five solid rounds and while Dodson probably does too, I’ve seen it from Johnson. He keeps up an aggressive but not overly reckless style over five rounds. Ducking in and out and using leg kicks aggressively to keep the New Mexico native off balance and on the defensive. In the end, Johnson takes a close Decision victory. Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision
2012 will go down as a mixed year in the UFC. Unable to deliver the big super fights, the UFC will attempt to rebound in 2013 with several highly anticipated fights both scheduled and in planning.
If there was one disappointment with the UFC in 2012 it was the inability to pull off big fights. Even realistic super fights in division like Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz failed to materialize for a variety of reasons. With an all-star roster on deck featuring new fighters from Strikeforce, the UFC has the potential to blow away 2012 with several big fights this year. Now whether the UFC can pull these off or not is another story altogether.
I sat down with the idea of writing about the 10 most anticipated UFC fights of 2013. Unfortunately I had a rough time coming up with anything past five. It isn’t as if the big fights aren’t available, it just appears that the biggest ones aren’t close to taking place. So in order to get to ten, I had to throw a lot of hypothetical matchups into the mix. I tried keeping it realistic and staying away from fights like GSP vs. Silva which while gigantic, doesn’t appear to be taking place in 2013. Of course the UFC is always full of surprises but on the first week of January, here is a look at what I think are the 10 most anticipated fights both signed and likely to happen in the next twelve months.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 158 - This one is signed but is far away from being sealed, and further away from being delivered. Diaz is still unlicensed so until he appears before the NSAC to get reinstated, this fight is far from a lock. However, if everything comes together as planned this is undoubtedly the biggest fight on the docket in 2013 now and for the rest of the year. Grudge fights sell in the UFC and I can’t think of a bigger grudge that will be settled in 2013 than this one.
Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones UFC 159 - If you are a hardcore fan and have followed Sonnen and Jones over the last few months, you are probably less excited about this fight than you were when it was announced. If you are a casual fan who peeks in and out, well then you are probably just as amped. So far the “grudge” between these two has turned into a bit of a love affair. I have to think that as the fight grows closer that Sonnen will go into his usual bag of promotional tricks and start talking. Regardless you have a fight between two stars with a title on the line. That will always draw to an extent.
Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping/Chris Weidman TBD - Anderson’s next move is as much of a mystery as anything else in the UFC. Dana White has said that Silva would fight Bisping if he wins his next fight but when is the last time Bisping hasn’t choked in this scenario? If it isn’t Bisping than Chris Weidman looks to be the next man up for the Spider. Regardless of the opponent, Anderson will always be a draw on pay per view. Unfortunately it isn’t likely to be the two opponents that would draw him the most money in either GSP or Bones Jones.
Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo UFC 156 - I am probably one of the few MMA fans incredibly psyched for this fight. I am a big fan of both and I think that this one has enormous potential to be fight of the year. Unfortunately neither are a draw on pay per view, yet I think the weak schedule puts this one at least in consideration for top 10 anticipated fights.
Cain Velasquez vs. Alistair Overeem TBD - Now is where we start diving into hypothetical fights. Have you seen Bigfoot Silva fight elite competition? He doesn’t fare so well. So I am going to presume that Overeem beats him. This one has the makings of a classic. Overeem has something that nobody else in the heavyweight division has had since Brock Lesnar left…charisma. That charisma equals money and that charisma matched up with Velasquez’s mystique will draw mega money here.
Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane Cyborg Santos TBD - Rousey and White can scream all that they want about Cyborg having to make 135 but at the end of the day I am still of the belief that this fight happens. Dave Meltzer recently reported that negotiations are very close to making this fight happen at 135. I think you have the makings of what could be the third or fourth biggest fight of 2013 in the UFC. I hate to say it but the fate of the women’s division rests on this fight.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks TBD - This one could come sooner than you think if Diaz can’t play ball in time for UFC 158. Hendricks is on an impressive winning streak in the division and by rights, should be the number one contender. Hendricks has one more hurdle to jump and I can’t imagine him stumbling at this point. Another Hendricks KO will bring some big money to this welterweight title fight. The KO artist vs. the supreme athlete is gold. Hendricks is already running his mouth about GSP. By the time this fight happens you’ll have yourself a nice grudge match. I smell a lot of green here.
Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson TBD - I’ll continue with the hypothetical fights here and go back to the light heavyweight division. Dana White has talked about Daniel Cormier getting the next title shot but I think a Hendo win over Machida seals the deal. Henderson continues to talk trash about Jones and as fickle as Jones is, I can see him demanding a fight to shut him up. Ticket sales weren’t strong for their first scheduled fight but I think this one is different. Henderson’s streak and list of victims will be a who’s who in the division and will make him a believable contender against Jones. This division desperately needs a credible contender. Continuing the circus with Cormier will do nobody any favors. I think Henderson gets the next shot and these guys do some better than expected business.
Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez TBD - There are grumblings that this first time battle of Strikeforce vs. UFC champions will take place at the UFC on FOX 7 broadcast, although those are just rumors right now. One thing is confirmed and that is that the UFC is working hard to make this fight happen. I think Henderson has now solidified himself as one of the faces of the UFC and the idea of someone with Melendez’s pedigree and winning streak coming in to challenge him is money. Additionally, there is always added intrigue when you have a battle of champions. I know this division has struggled for attention since BJ Penn lost the title but I think Henderson brings it back to relevance in 2013.
Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira TBD - I’ll close out the hypothetical schedule with a fight that I think could be absolutely huge. Unfortunately Teixeira did himself no favors in his fight with Fabio Maldonado. He won but I think a bit of the mystique was off. He’ll have the chance to snatch that back when he fights on network television against Rampage Jackson. If he can brutalize Jackson as most expect, he’ll make himself a star overnight. He will look like the unstoppable killing machine getting ready to end the reign of Jones. There is major money in this fight if Teixeira gets past Rampage convincingly. Maybe they go with Teixeira vs. Henderson, Gustaffson, or Cormier in an eliminator first, but I think Teixeira gets his crack at Jones by year’s end in what turns out to be a big time fight.
Happy Holidays, CamelClutchBlog faithful. I sincerely hope everyone enjoyed whatever holiday they may or may not have celebrated this year. I don’t think there is a politically incorrect way (and if there is, please tell me) for me to address the arrival of 2013 so I’d like to start by wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
Speaking of healthy, I think we’d all like to wish a healthier 2013 for so many fighters who’ve been injured. Yes, there is the purely selfish part of all of us who wants them healthier so they can entertain through this sport we love so much, but they obviously suffer from the lack of a paycheck. Is GSP’s “Camp For Only One Fighter Like In Boxing” approach the answer, as Dana White recently mentioned? I have no idea. If I knew how to stop fighter injuries, I feel like that information would be very valuable to promoters, gyms and bookies and I’d probably have heard from somebody by now.
But alas, I digress. With over 30 events between pay-per-view, cable and free TV this year, not to mention compilations and weekly T.U.F. episodes, the UFC has been busy. With one heavyweight title fight to go and a 2013 that’s shaping up nicely, let’s take a 30,000 foot view of what’s coming up and key fights look for in the year ahead. Honestly, I could speak at length about each and every one of the fights that’ll be mentioned (particularly the Super Bowl weekend card) but again, this is more of a snapshot. I’ll leave the in-depth analysis to our very own Lee McGregor, who’ll paint you a detailed portrait, complete with flowers and shading and colors and happy little trees.
These are just my thoughts, mind you, so if there’s something you feel I missed or a grievance with anything I say, throw it in the comments. Just don’t immediately jump to trolling. Let’s talk. No big whup.
UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II
What a difference a year makes. Last November, the UFC debuted on Fox with then-champ and “we’d-later-confirm-he-was-injured” Cain Velasquez getting KO’d in 64 seconds by Junior dos Santos. This Saturday, the UFC rings in the New Year with the anticipated rematch. Since then, JDS successfully defended the title against Frank Mir and Velasquez healed up, turning the Octagon into a crimson Jackson Pollack at UFC 146 (using Bigfoot Silva’s face as the palette) along the way. A healthy Velasquez looking to avenge his only loss makes him even more dangerous so I don’t see JDS swinging for the fences and clubbing him into 2013, but either way, this is a great fight. As for the rest of the card, losing Forrest Griffin/Phil Davis was a bit of a blow, but if anything, I am most pumped about Jim Miller/Joe Lauzon in the co-main event. Other key fights on the undercard are Brad Pickett/Eddie Wineland, Melvin Guilliard/Jamie Varner and the return of Todd “Don’t Let the Mike Russow Punching Bag Punch You Back” Dufee to the heavyweight division against Phil De Fries.
UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping
Time to save your pennies with a PPV-less January since the UFC doubled up for February (more to come later). No need to go into withdrawal, though, since there are back-to-back weekends of free fights, starting January 19th with Belfort vs. Bisping on FX. The Brazilian returns home both in terms of geography (the fight is in Sao Paolo) and weight (his new home of 185) after moving up to LHW against champ Jon Jones. Barring that near-upset armbar, Belfort spent most of the title fight getting beaten like a redheaded stepchild, but there’s no shame in that considering it was against Jonny Bones. Bisping rebounded from a questionable decision loss to Chael Sonnen in January with a solid UD win over Brian Stann in September. A win for either fighter should raise the question of a title shot, if only for the fact that the division is shallow and the idea of Silva vs. GSP or Jones super fights have subsided. I’m prematurely picking Belfort, but Bisping’s surprising me lately so if he can survive the onslaught, I wouldn’t put it past him to get a tight decision. Also, T.U.F: Brazil finalist Daniel Sarafian makes his UFC debut against C.B. Dolloway, Gabriel Gonzaga takes on Ben Rothwell in heavyweight action and undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Thiago Tavares. Finally, be sure to catch Edson Barboza against Justin Salas on the Fuel undercard. His hype train got derailed a bit by Jamie Varner at UFC 146, but he’s an exciting fighter with lots of KO power and I see him getting back on track in a big way in his home country.
UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson
I like the UFC’s decision to put a flyweight title fight on free TV with some great support behind it. “Mighty Mouse” and Dodson, the first T.U.F. finalist to get a title shot since season 5, will make viewers at home think they hit fast-forward with a breakneck pace that’ll hopefully get some lighter weight class fighters their dues. Johnson has only one finish between his stint in WEC and now the UFC, but I for one didn’t expect him to hold off Joseph Benavidez to become the promotions first 125 lb champ. I’ll give Dodson the power advantage so if he can frustrate Johnson by stuffing his takedowns and landing a few shots, I think he’ll pull off the win. Much like a good sitcom with an excellent supporting lead, Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis has early “Fight of the Year” potential and puts the winner in LW title shot discussion (perhaps more so for Pettis than Cerrone given the story around a Pettis/Henderson rematch). While it might not have direct title-shot implications, Glover Teixeira vs. Rampage is the kind of fight you invite your non-MMA friends to watch since there’s a good chance someone is getting knocked out. On the undercard, Ryan Bader tries to stay relevant at 205 against Vladimir Matyushenko and hopefully Clay Guida does not employ his “punch and run” game plan like he did against Gray Maynard when he takes on Hatsu Hioki.
UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar
The first super card of 2013 is happening Super Bowl weekend on February 2nd. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever now to get the featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. I personally blame motorcycle accidents and rematches. After questionable back-to-back title losses at lightweight (I know I’ve said questionable twice already, once when referring to Bisping/Sonnen, but really watch Henderson/Edgar 1 and 2 and tell me Edgar didn’t win at least one of those fights), Edgar moves down to 145, the weight class everyone keeps saying he belongs in. Aldo has not lost since 2005 and is one of the most exciting fighters in all of MMA. Edgar is going to have to drag Aldo into deep water, where we saw shades of him fading against Mark Hominick. Again, another “Fight of the Year” potential before March. Before you even get to the title fight, though, the main card has three other fights that could headline a Fox or FX event in Rashad Evans vs. Lil Nog, Alistair Overeem vs. Bigfoot Silva (should Overeem win, he’ll probably be given a shot at the winner of JDS/Cain) and Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia. Oh, but my favorite fight on the undercard? Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall, who both came up short in the inaugural flyweight tournament, but this could be a #1 contender fight to face the winner of Johnson/Dodson.
UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald
Kudos yet again to the UFC for giving an interim title some legitimacy and not using it as a marketing ploy to be used for unification bouts! Renan Barao, fresh off handing Urijah Faber what seems like his 100th title-fight loss at UFC 149, will defend his interim bantamweight title against Michael McDonald. No, not the guy from The Doobie Brothers. The guy who knocked Miguel Torres out of the UFC at UFC 145 and hasn’t lost under the Zuffa banner. Yup. That guy. Add to that a main card with two swing-for-the-fences LHW fights in James Te Huna vs. Ryan “Greatest Robot/Split Celebration in Octagon History?” Jimmo and undefeated Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate. Oh, and Brock Lesnar’s German kickboxing mini-me (!) Denis Siver looks to extend his featherweight winning streak to 3 against Cub Swanson. All in all, I love this card and how it’s booked. The UFC is ever so slightly increasing exposure for up-and-coming fighters but minimizing their own risk of underperforming by putting it on Fuel. Paul Sass, if you’re reading this, another “Sassangle” submission on Danny Castillo on the undercard would be just fine with me.
UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche
Welcome to the “Rhonda Rousey Show,” ladies and gentlemen. UFC’s first ever women’s champion Rhonda Rousey will have the first ever women’s MMA fight in the promotion against Liz Carmouche, who’s riding a two-fight winning streak coming out of Invicta FC. Again, if we’re playing wheelchair matchmaker and the “business” around the card’s composition, the UFC is supporting this inaugural lady’s scrap very well with a potential #1 contender fight at 205 between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida, perennial contender Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar, two struggling but game HWs in Lavar Johnson and Brendan Schaub plus the return of Robbie Lawler both to the UFC and to welterweight to fight Josh Koscheck. While I don’t necessarily agree with the timing since the UFC will be hot off a big card like 156 and I fear people might get tight with their wallets with two fights in one month, they’ve paired Rousey up with a tough fighter to build a story around and it should make for a solid landing. No disrespect to Carmouche, but I, like many, anticipate another armbar victory for Rousey.
Quick Hits – March & Beyond…
- UFC on Fuel TV (March 3): Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann and Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt? The fans of Saitama Super Arena will go home happy. One, if not two, of those fighters will need to be woken up by smelling salts. Not sure if Siyar Bahadurzada will be able to match his 42 second KO of Paulo Thiago against a durable Kim Dong-Hyun, but it’ll be fun to see him try. Also, Diego “The Dream” (really, you have to chuckle) Sanchez returns yet again to 155 against Japanese legend Takanori Gomi. TONY ROBBINS. YES.
- UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz (March 16): GSP fighting in his hometown of Montreal again? I’m shocked. Not sure I agree with Nick Diaz jumping Johnny Hendricks for a title shot after a loss/weed suspension, but it’s a bigger draw and GSP’s been very vocal about wanting to take out the “disrespectful” Diaz. Speaking of Hendricks, he’s slated to fight Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Condit looks to rebound from his loss to the champ in a rematch against Rory Macdonald. Lots of potential storylines for the UFC welterweight division hang in the balance. Grab a Labatt Blue and enjoy.
- BEYOND: April 27 is when Chael Sonnen gets his shot at the LHW belt against fellow T.U.F. coach and current champion Jon Jones in NJ. In related news, Twitter and wit will get you title fights regardless of records in that particular weight class and this season of T.U.F. will actually be worth watching; Anderson Silva will return mid-late 2013 in a non-super fight. If he wants Anderson Silva money, my bet is he’s hoping Bisping beats Belfort in January; for the love of God, will someone get Eddie Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier in the UFC already?
The UFC is starting to put the wheels in motion for its first FOX special of 2013. The UFC on FOX 6 is coming together with some star power, a title match, and championship eliminator, yet the card appears to be missing something.
I would have though that the UFC learned their lesson when they attempted to headline a FOX special with Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller. For fans like me, I was ecstatic about the fight. However, the lesson learned is that the appeal of fights to hardcore fans and casual fans are much different. The UFC will be taking a big gamble with this lineup in January which follows two stacked FOX events.
The headliner (yes headliner) will feature the first title defense of the first UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as he battles John Dodson. The idea that the UFC would headline a televised event with a fighter whose fight was just booed out of the building is perplexing to say the least. It is a gamble. If Johnson and Dodson have a good fight, the flyweight title and division are established as exciting. But are casual fans really going to tune in to watch a headliner featuring two guys that are smaller than most people in your audience?
The show will also feature what is likely a lightweight title eliminator between Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone. Again this is a Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller type of a fight that appeals to hardcore fans like me yet probably won’t resonate with casual fans. I like the fight and I think it’ll be exciting but how many fans are going to go out of their way in January?
Rampage Jackson may have given this card a much needed boost of star power when he tweeted that he would be fighting Glover Teixeira on the same event.
“Outside the cage I hate no one. Life is too short for that. In side the cage my Job is to destroy! Glover is done on Jan 26 n Chicago..” – @Rampage4Real
This is a great fight for television and a win-win situation for the UFC. The UFC will certainly capitalize off of Rampage’s star power and draw in some casual fans to the FOX event. At the same time, the UFC will have a chance to showcase Teixeira in front of a large audience. If Teixeira wins as is expected, he could be looked at as an immediate title contender for Jon Jones.
There is still something missing from the lineup. I find it hard to believe that the UFC would go with a flyweight title fight as a FOX headliner. Can the UFC be that naïve or is there another fight the company is waiting to announce? Is the UFC waiting on Showtime to bail from Strikeforce and bring over someone like Gilbert Melendez, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, or even Ronda Rousey? This one just seems hard to believe if this is the finalized plan going into UFC on FOX 6.
2013 will be a make or break year in the UFC and FOX deal. The first year was what many called a feeling out process between the two entities. The second year will be a put up or shut up year for the UFC. If the UFC numbers fall or lack any real mobility upwards, this relationship could get ugly by the end of the year, which is why going with this card is a curious move at best for the UFC and FOX.
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
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.
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.
Anderson Silva came to Brazil, he saw, and he dominated. Silva earned his sixteenth UFC win at UFC 153 with a brutal win over Stephan Bonnar. The strange main-event was every bit a mismatch inside the octagon as it was on paper.
Bonnar charged Silva immediately. They fought up against the cage as Bonnar hit a few knee strikes on Silva’s leg. Bonnar and Silva exchanged knee strikes against the cage. Bonnar was trying to take Silva down unsuccessfully. They fought for position up against the cage for about two minutes. Bonnar got a few short punches in. They exchanged a few strikes briefly. Silva hung out by the cage waiting for Bonnar. Bonnar missed a spinning kick. Silva appeared to be mocking him at this point with his defense. Silva laid flat against the cage with his hands down while Bonnar struck to no avail. Silva tripped Bonnar, followed in with a brutal knee strike, and finished with 21 seconds to go. A devastating knee was what did the damage here.
The fight sounded a lot more interesting than it was. The majority of the round saw Silva just lay and wait on the cage. It was a typical Anderson Silva mismatch that saw Silva screw around for four minutes before actually engaging his opponent. Bonnar talked a great game about bringing the fight to Silva but at the end of the day all Bonnar did was try and go for the takedown. Once Bonnar couldn’t take him down he knew he was screwed, Silva knew Bonnar was screwed, and it was over.
The odd main-event came about after Jose Aldo was injured in a motorcycle accident and had to pull out of his scheduled main-event against Frankie Edgar. The UFC middleweight champion had offered to save UFC 151 a few weeks earlier and the UFC president called his bluff with UFC 153. Silva offered to fight on short notice to save the show and perform in front of his home country. Stephan Bonnar was the sacrifice.
Anderson Silva is being heralded as a hero in many circles for taking the fight against Bonnar on short notice. I tend to disagree and have a bit of a cynical point of view on the fight. I think that Silva took the fight to buy time. Silva wants to fight Georges St-Pierre at the expense of dodging challengers in the middleweight division. After defeating Chael Sonnen several weeks ago Silva said he wasn’t fighting again until 2013. The opportunity for UFC 153 came up and the fight with Bonnar was a brilliant move by the champion that allowed him to stall while waiting for GSP and in turn take a very easy fight that was accepted as heroic. Heroic would have been fighting Chris Wiedman or a top middleweight contender. Heroic is not fighting Stephan Bonnar no matter how you slice it.
Quite frankly this headliner was a joke. It was an intriguing fight…for a free show. To charge fans for the fight was ridiculous. I have heard many defend the main-event by asking, “What was the UFC supposed to do?” Oh I don’t know, not allow their middleweight champion to take an easy fight while holding the division hostage? The whole thing just didn’t sit well with me from the start and after seeing it play out, I was even less thrilled with the decision making here.
Silva is now in a position where he is holding out for a fight against Georges St-Pierre. The greatest fighter in MMA will go from Stephan Bonnar to a fighter he outweighs by at least 30 pounds, while avoiding the best in his division and the best in the light heavyweight division. Silva outright refuses to fight Jon Jones and continues to show little interest in defending his title against the top contenders. Silva has no interest in fighting in the light heavyweight division yet takes a fight with +700 underdog? Call me crazy but I have a hard time with the greatest in any sport avoiding the best competition.
The hot rumor right now is that the UFC are moving towards Rashad Evans vs. Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title. Excuse me if I don’t get too excited. Silva wants super fights and I get that, but Rashad Evans? Fool me once (with the Rampage fight) shame on you, fool me twice (with the Bones fight) shame on me. Rashad talks a great game yet at the end of the day is a boring, uninspired fighter in these kinds of situations. Evans vs. Silva is a fight between two UFC stars but at the end of the day Silva is once again avoiding the best in both divisions he competes in to take an easier fight.
Silva told Joe Rogan in the post fight interview that he was not taking any more fights at 205. If Dana White is as great a promoter as he thinks he is, he has to make Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva. That is the match, not Silva vs. GSP. How Silva can just blow off this fight is something else. Can you imagine any other athlete saying he won’t fight the best? Maybe it’s posturing but the UFC is going to desperately need this fight at some point. If Silva retires without taking that fight, it will absolutely be a black mark on his career.
This is probably coming off like a bash Anderson Silva blog and quite frankly it is. As a fan, I am more disappointed in the path that arguably the greatest fighter of all-time has chosen. I can understand Silva wanting to retire undefeated in the UFC. But if he is just going to pick and choose easy fights, retire now. I just want to see the best fight the best and I feel like we were all duped tonight as part of Silva’s master plan. Even more disappointing is that the UFC is a willing accomplice in this charade.
The other big story of the night was Jon Fitch. Jon Fitch fought like an animal in defeating Erick Silva. I can’t put into words how great this fight was. Fitch was caught badly in a choke at one point and survived. This was a huge fight for Fitch who desperately needed a win here. Fitch has made his financial problems public as of late and has said on several occasions that not only did he need the win, but he needed a bonus for Fight of the Night. He certainly earned it. The second round here is a candidate for Round of the Year. I don”t know where this Jon Fitch has been for the last six years because the Fitch that fought tonight was aggressive, intense, and just outright brutal in his assault on Silva. Silva gassed out badly in the final round while Fitch kept coming. I have no problem seeing Fitch get another title shot if he continues fighting with this kind of intensity.
Full UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar results and winners…
Anderson Silva defeated Stephan Bonnar via TKO in Round 1
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Dave Herman via submission in Round 2
Glover Teixeira defeated Fabio Maldonado via 2nd round TKO
Jon Fitch defeated Erick Silva via unanimous decision
Phil Davis defeated Wagner Prado via submission
Demian Maia defeated Rick Story via submission
Rony Jason defeated Sam Sicilia via second-round TKO
Gleison Tibau defeated Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision
Diego Brandao defeated Joey Gambino via unanimous decision
Sergio Moraes defeated Renee Forte via submission
Chris Camozzi defeated Luiz Cane via unanimous decision
Cristiano Marcello defeated Reza Madadi via split decision
The UFC returns to the airwaves of Pay Per View once again this weekend, as the promotion returns to the home of MMA once again in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Originally scheduled to be headlined by a Featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie “The Answer” Edgar; the UFC was once again bitten by the injury bug. However, the UFC called upon one of their biggest stars and Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva stepped up to the plate to fight in front of his fellow countrymen, he’ll battle “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar in a Light Heavyweight tilt.
In the co-main event of the evening Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira also steps up to help the UFC by taking a late notice Heavyweight bout against Dave Herman. Four other bouts round out the Pay Per View main card, all of them featuring a Brazilian. In Light Heavyweight action rising star Glover Teixeira takes on former professional boxer Fabiano Maldonado. All-American Wrestler Jon Fitch battles Brazil’s top Welterweight prospect Erick Silva. Another Light Heavyweight bout features American wrestler Phil Davis re-matching Brazilian bomber Wagner Prado after their first bout ended after a controversial eye-poke. Kicking off the PPV portion of the event BJJ expert Demian Maia battles American wrestler Rick Story in a Welterweight bout.
Let’s get right into it.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Cristiano Marcello vs. Reza Madadi
Cristiano Marcello is a Brazilian fighter from Curitiba, Brazil. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who was formerly the head BJJ Coach at the famed Chute Boxe Academy. Marcello is a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter Live and has also competed for many notable MMA promotions like Pride, Vale Tudo and Fury FC. Marcello holds a career record of 12-4. Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi is a Swedish-Iranian fighter from Stockholm, Sweden. Madadi is a wrestling specialist with strong ground skills. Although his striking looked a little bit subpar in his UFC debut, he’s still a better striker than Marcello. Madadi holds a career record of 12-2 and hasn’t lost since 2008.
Analysis and Prediction:: Marcello is an extremely talented grappler, in fact he’s probably in the top 15 or so % in pure grappling in the Lightweight division. However, there is one glaring problem with his game, he doesn’t have the wrestling ability to take the fight there without pulling guard. Madadi is a very strong wrestler and although he started somewhat slowly in his UFC debut, we can probably blame that on Octagon jitters. Marcello is a pretty awful striker and although Madadi isn’t exactly the second coming of Floyd Mayweather, he’s got a reach advantage and the speed to beat Marcello to the punch most of the time. Unless Madadi gets completely wild on the ground with Marcello, he can probably pound out a stoppage in the second round. Reza Madadi via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Middleweight Bout: Luiz Cane vs. Chris Camozzi
Luiz “Banha” Cane is a 31-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who will be making his Middleweight debut in the UFC. Cane was once one of the top prospects at Light Heavyweight, but a string of knockout losses has forced him to retreat to the Middleweight ranks. Cane is a BJJ black belt, but relies heavily on his striking in bouts. He holds a career record of 12-4-1, with 10 knockout wins. Chris Camozzi is a 25-year-old American from Alameda, California. He is a member of the Factory X Muay Thai Gym in Lakewood, Colorado. Camozzi was a cast-member on the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Camozzi holds a career record of 17-5 including five wins via TKO and 6 via Submission.
Analysis and Prediction:: Luiz Cane was one of the top prospects in the Light Heavyweight division before he got rocked by a couple of heavy hitters in the upper echelon of 205’ers. Now he’s making the drop to Middleweight, and if there’s one thing I dislike it’s fighters making the drop after several losses. Camozzi is far from a top-tier Middleweight fighter, but he’s also not a fun match up for anyone. He’s tough and durable, having never been knocked out in his career. He’s also a big Middleweight, big enough that I think he may actually have a size and strength advantage against Cane. My guess is that no matter what Camozzi loses the first round, but if he can survive, he can probably start to turn the fight around in the second round. Clinches against the cage and dirty boxing will wear down Cane and once the Brazilian slows, Camozzi can take advantage and steal the last two rounds and the fight. Chris Camozzi via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Sergio Moraes vs. Renee Forte
Sergio “Serginho” Moraes is a 30-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was a cast-member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Moraes has trained with a number of notable gyms in Brazil including Team Nogueira, Alliance Jiu Jitsu and Universidade da Luta (University of Fighting.) Moraes is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who relies heavily on his ground skills to win him fights. He has a career record of 6-2 including five wins via Submission. Renee Forte is another cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Forte is also a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert, who has finished four career opponents. Forte holds a career record of 7-1, but looked rather unimpressive during his relatively short run on the show.
Analysis and Prediction:: I hate to be overly negative in these reviews, but in my opinion Forte just isn’t UFC caliber. He looked overmatched during his season of The Ultimate Fighter and his striking skills were almost non-existent. He is capable and talented on the ground, but that’s not going to be enough to get by in the UFC. Moraes himself showed some pretty sloppy striking during his time on the show. However, he is a BJJ expert and a former ADCC competitor, he’s significantly better than Forte on the ground. Moraes is a better striker, but the fight won’t be there long. He likely lands a quick takedown and from top control he works himself into a dominant position and ends this one in the first round. Sergio Moraes via Submission in Round One
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Diego Brandao vs. Joey Gambino
Diego “Ceara” Brandao is a Brazilian fighter from Fortaleza, Brazil. He was the winner of the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Brandao is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who trains out of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brandao is a highly aggressive Muay Thai striker who has twelve stoppage victories on his resume. He holds a career record of 14-8. Joey “The Raging” Warrior Gambino is an American fighter from Port Charlotte, Florida. He now trains out of his Team Raging Warriors Gym in Saugerties, New York. Before making his UFC debut Gambino was ranked as one of the top prospects in the world at Featherweight. Gambino is a talented wrestler who uses takedowns and top control to earn points against his opponents. He holds a career record of 9-1.
Analysis and Prediction:: Gambino has only one loss in the UFC and it came at the hands of Steven Siler, who has turned out to be significantly better than his showing on TUF. Gambino is a talented wrestler who entered the UFC with a ton of hype. He’s not the first top prospect who’s fallen flat in their UFC debut and he won’t be the last, the question is how he can rebound. He’s drawn a stiff test for his return to the cage. Brandao is a TUF winner, who is extremely aggressive both striking and on the ground. Brandao has two big problems, cardio and striking defense. He works with a smart camp in New Mexico, they have surely done a lot of work on his striking defense. Cardio might be another issue, he just needs to pace himself a little more and not go for the throat every time he senses blood. A more measured approach to his aggression should save his cardio a bit, but against Gambino in might not matter. Brandao and Coach Jackson have surely watched the Siler-Gambino fight. Expect a similar game plan from Brandao. He gets top control and pounds his way to back mount, before securing a Rear Naked Choke. Diego Brandao via Submission in Round One
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Gleison Tibau is a Brazilian fighter who now resides and trains in Coconut Creek, Florida with the American Top Team Gym. Tibau is one of the largest lightweights in the UFC, with rumors saying that he often weighs up to 185-pounds by fight time after weighing in at 155-pounds the day before. Tibau holds a career record of 25-8. Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo is a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter who was a cast-member on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Although he competed as a Middleweight on the show, Trinaldo has actually spent most of his career competing at Lightweight, however, this may be the first time he’s cut this much weight in a significant amount of time, so there may be some effects from a hard cut on his cardio. Trinaldo is a member of the Constrictor Team in Brazil and an occasional member of Brazilian Top Team. He holds a career record of 11-1.
Analysis and Prediction:: Trinaldo is a Lightweight fighter, despite having fought at Middleweight on the show. What concerns me is how he deals with cutting weight after fighting at 185-pounds for so long. Tibau is a massive Lightweight, but he’s never really had issues making weight and it rarely affects his performances come fight night. Trinaldo showed good takedown defense against Delson Heleno in their bout. Tibau is a more capable wrestler than Heleno and despite being a Lightweight he’s probably close to the same size. This fight relies on how well Trinaldo handles the weight cut. He has the talent to sprawl and brawl against Tibau, but if he’s anything but 100% this fight swings more and more in Tibau’s favor. I think he takes a Unanimous Decision. Gleison Tibau via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Sam Sicilia
Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra is a 28-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bezerra was the Featherweight winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Even with all those credentials it still wasn’t quite enough to get him on the main card of this stacked show. Bezerra is a talented striker who showcased impressive ground skills as well as he ran through the TUF house on his way to the finals. Bezerra holds a career record of 11-3. Sam Sicilia is an American fighter from Spokane, Washington. He was a competitor on the live season of The Ultimate Fighter. Sicilia is a decent wrestler who prefers to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, but who also packs significant power in his hands. Sicilia owns a career record of 11-1.
Analysis and Prediction:: Rony Bezerra is going to hold a six-inch reach advantage for this fight and it’s probably going to get worse for Sicilia from there. For one he doesn’t really set up his strikes well, instead he throws looping wild punches that leave him wide open to counters. Although his striking wasn’t the best on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Bezerra is able to counter relatively effectively, it should help against someone who telegraphs his shots like Sicilia. Add to that the fact that Bezerra is a more talented grappler with the wrestling skills to control this bout on the mat and he’s got fifteen minutes to earn a submission if he’s smart. I think he plays this one safe and earns the submission on the ground. However, if he gets reckless and trades with Sicilia he might get his chin-checked. Bezerra was rocked in two of his fights on TUF: Brazil and Sicilia was dropping guys at Lightweight, if he catches Bezerra on the chin, he’s probably got the upset in the bag. As it is, I think Bezerra snatches a submission in the first round. Rony Mariano Bezerra via Submission in Round One
Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Demian Maia vs. Rick Story
Demian Maia is a Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is one of the top practitioners of the sport. Maia is a member of the Wand Fight Team training out of Sao Paulo. It has been under the tutelage of head coach Wanderlei Silva where Maia has rapidly improved his striking skills. He is still not a world-beater in the striking department, but he throws tight and technical combinations, with solid defense and footwork. Maia is a former ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion, winning the 87 kg division in 2007. The former Middleweight title hopeful is 1-0 since dropping to the Welterweight division. Maia owns a career record of 16-4.
Rick “The Horror” Story is an American fighter from Tacoma. Washington. Story is a wrestler, often relying on takedowns and top control to win rounds against his opponents. Story was once considered a top prospect in the Welterweight division, but back-to-back defeats to Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann significantly slowed that hype train. Story is a member of the Brave Legion Gym in Vancouver, Washington. Story holds notable career victories over Thiago Alves and Johnny Hendricks. Story holds a professional record of 14-5.
Analysis and Prediction:: Maia has been rapidly improving his all around MMA game, especially his striking skills. Despite that, his best chance at finishing any bout is still likely going to be to snag a submission on the ground. It’s hard to draw any conclusions by a bout like Maia’s versus Dong Hyun Kim that ended with a strange injury. But if there’s one thing that you can take from the fight, it’s how well Maia was doing against a smothering wrestler like Kim, he was actually working towards taking his back before the injury occurred. Kim is a significantly larger and more smothering wrestler than Story is, if he couldn’t get Maia to the ground easily, I don’t think Story can. In a striking battle, I’d probably actually favor Maia. He’s more technically sound and has been rapidly improving his striking. Story prefers to swing wildly and his defense isn’t the greatest. If Story wants to win this one, he’s going to need to grind away for all three rounds. That’s a lot of time on the ground with one of the best BJJ talents in the Welterweight division. Maia eventually snags a submission late. Demian Maia via Submission in Round Three
Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado
Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis is an American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Davis is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Penn State University, where he won the NCAA title in 2008. Davis has been improving his striking skills throughout his career, but his striking is still somewhat stiff and robotic. Davis is also a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training under coach Lloyd Irvin. Davis is a current member of the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California. Davis holds a career record of 9-1, with 1 No Contest, with his only career loss coming against Rashad Evans.
Wagner “Caldeirao” Prado is a 24-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Prado made his UFC debut in his last bout against Davis, but the fight ended in a No Contest after an inadvertent eye-poke left him unable to continue against Davis. Prado is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but his biggest strength is his explosive Muay Thai skills, along with the big power that he packs into his strikes. Prado is a very large and muscular fighter, although he will likely be outmuscled in the clinch against a wrestler as strong as Davis. Prado holds an undefeated professional record of 8-0, with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction:: The easy pick in this bout is certainly Davis. His wrestling is smothering and his ground skills have been rapidly improving. His striking still leaves a bit to be desired. In his bout against Rashad Evans he was a step behind the entire fight. Davis also carries his hands a bit too low at times and he often gets caught flat-footed while he’s preparing to make a move; either shooting for a takedown or closing the distance to clinch up. Prado is relatively untested and we didn’t see a whole lot of him in his first bout with Davis before the eye poke. He’s still a massive Light Heavyweight who has big power in his hands and a whole lot of nasty in his uppercuts. If Davis plays this smart he works for a takedown as soon as possible, as his top control is excellent and his ground and pound strong. But if he decides to test himself against Prado, it could be upset time. I predicted a Prado upset last time, and I still think he can pull it off. Davis seems like he wants to prove something to himself and that could turn into a problem for him. Wagner Prado via TKO in Round One
Main Card (PPV): Welterweight Bout: Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva
Jon Fitch is a UFC veteran of over 16 career bouts inside the UFC’s Octagon. Fitch is a member of the famed American Kickboxing Academy training out of San Jose, California. Fitch is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Purdue University. Fitch also holds a black belt in Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu (a combination of BJJ, Judo and Wrestling.) Fitch is known for his less than fan-friendly style, consisting mainly of takedowns and smothering top control, Fitch is one of the best wrestlers in the Welterweight division. Fitch has not been overly active in the past year and a half, suffering a shoulder injury as well as a torn MCL, which has kept him out of the cage since December 2011. Fitch holds a career record of 23-4-1, with 1 No Contest.
Erick “Indio” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. Silva was the inaugural Jungle Fight Welterweight Champion, a title that he never actually lost. Silva is an extremely quick and aggressive striker with excellent Muay Thai skills. In addition to his excellent stand up skills, Silva is no slouch on the ground holding black belts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Silva is a member of the Team Nogueira Gym in Brazil. Silva holds a career record of 14-2 with 1 No Contest, although one of those losses is in extremely controversial fashion as he was defeated via Disqualification in a bout he was dominating.
Analysis and Prediction:: Silva is a top prospect at 170-pounds. He is highly aggressive, extremely quick and agile and very creative. He really should be 3-0 inside the UFC, since his lone loss was via DQ in a bout that he had in the bag. Despite that, there’s not a whole lot of tape to glean anything from, since no opponent has gotten out of the first round with him. Likewise for Fitch he has been extremely inactive since a knee injury and shoulder injury have kept him sidelined for most of the year. His last bout was in December of 2011 and it lasted only twelve seconds. Many people believe that the fight against Hendricks was the beginning of a slide for Fitch, but I think it’s hard to make that assumption after only twelve seconds. Likewise, it’s hard to tell exactly how good Silva is from his brief body of work. Fitch has shown that he can fight for three hard rounds, Silva we don’t know that about. Another interesting aspect of this fight may be the crowd reaction to Fitch’s ground based attack, and how the referee reacts to the crowd noise. I’ll bank on what I know best, and that’s Fitch’s ground game can deal with anyone not named GSP. Silva might be good enough to frustrate Fitch on the ground and work for a decision, but I just think Fitch grinds away for another less than entertaining decision victory. Jon Fitch via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado
Glover Teixeira is a Brazilian fighter from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Before recently joining the UFC he was one of the top Light Heavyweight prospects in the world, not fighting in the UFC. Despite his Brazilian heritage, Teixeira now trains and resides in California, training at The Pit in San Luis Obispo. Teixeira is a black belt in BJJ who also has strong striking skills. Teixeira was originally scheduled to face Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in this bout, but an injury to Jackson forced a change in opponent. Teixeira holds a career record of 18-2, with 16 stoppage victories.
Fabio Maldonado is a 32-year-old Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Maldonado is a former professional boxer competing in Brazil. As a professional boxer, he held a record of 22-0 with 21 knockout victories. Maldonado is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training with the Team Nogueira Gym. As one might expect based on his past as a professional boxer, Maldonado is a competent striker with decent footwork, although at times he struggles with his striking defense. Maldonado asked for this bout when Quinton Jackson was injured, but is entering the bout after back-to-back losses and is likely fighting for his job in this bout. He holds a career record of 18-5, with 15 stoppage victories.
Analysis and Prediction:: Teixeira has long been considered one of the top Light Heavyweight prospects in the world that wasn’t fighting in the UFC. In his UFC debut he proved why as he absolutely obliterated Kyle Kingsbury standing, before taking control on the mat and earning a quick submission victory. Maldonado on the other hand lost a grinding decision to Kingsbury, mainly because he was unable to stop the takedown. While MMA Math doesn’t always work out, this is one case where it is likely very important. Despite his past as a professional boxer, Maldonado’s striking defense is pretty bad. He keeps his hands low and his footwork is less than impressive, overall he’s just far too hittable. On the ground Maldonado has BJJ skills, but he’s never shown them in a fight. Teixeira is a handful on the ground and his mixture of ground and pound and submission awareness will be far too much for Maldonado to handle. I expect to see an early takedown, a bit of positional groundwork and then ground and pound to finish this bout early. Glover Teixeira via TKO in Round One
Main Card (PPV): Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman
Antonio “Minotauro” Rodrigo Nogueira is a Brazilian fighter from Bahia, Brazil. He is a legend in the sport of MMA, and is one of the most popular MMA fighters of all time. He is best known for his battles under the PRIDE FC banner in Japan in the early 2000s, where he was the first Heavyweight Champion in the promotion. Nogueira is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a black belt in Judo and is one of the top ground fighters in the Heavyweight division. Nogueira is also a talented striker, with excellent technical boxing skills, although he has slowed somewhat considerably as his career has advanced. He is a member of the Black House MMA Gym and the head trainer of Team Nogueira. He holds a professional record of 33-7-1, with 1 No Contest.
Dave “Pee Wee” Herman is an American fighter from Columbia City, Indiana. Herman won the first fifteen bouts of his professional career, all but one of them via stoppage in the first round and had considerable hype behind him. Herman is a big power puncher who has won 15 of his career bouts via some form of knockout. Herman trains at the Team Quest Gym in Temecula, California. Herman has shown somewhat questionable cardio in the past, slowing significantly in almost all of his bouts that have made it past the first round. Herman is an aggressive striker who is willing to trade blows with anyone, this has caused him problems in his last two bouts, both of which ended with him on the wrong side of a Knockout punch. Herman is still a dangerous fighter with big power, who owns a professional record of 21-4.
Analysis and Prediction:: Big Nog was actually doing extremely well in his bout against Frank Mir. His striking looked good, his combinations were crisp, he was keeping his hands up to defend himself, and then he rocked Frank Mir with a straight punch, that’s where it went downhill for him. Instead of going for a TKO win by ground and pound, he went for a submission, got reversed and got his arm broken. Both men expect that they can hurt each other standing and since they’re both Heavyweights with questionable chins, that’s probably true. Herman looked less than impressive in his loss to Nelson, but he was doing well in the first round of his fight against Stefan Struve, but the wheels fell off in the second round. Nogueira has way more ways to win. He’s way better than Herman on the ground and if he can work the fight there, it’s likely that he can earn a submission. However, Nogueira has looked slow in some of his most recent bouts and a career of getting pummeled has got to catch up to him at some point. Nogueira is the rightful favorite, but Herman is certainly a live underdog as long as this fight stays standing. To make it interesting I’ll pick Herman to steal the upset and shock the crowd. Dave Herman via KO in Round One
Main Card (PPV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar
Anderson “The Spider” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Sao Paulo. He is one of the pound for pound greatest fighters of all time. Although this bout is in the Light Heavyweight division, he is the reigning UFC Middleweight Champion. After an injury scrapped the main event of this card, Silva stepped up to take on an opponent at Light Heavyweight on short notice. Silva holds a number of UFC records including the longest winning streak, most title defenses and longest title reign. Silva is one of, if not the most dynamic striker in all of Mixed Martial Arts. He is an extremely technical and tactical fighter whose counter punching skills and striking defense are among the best in the world. Silva is a member of the Black House Gym in Torrance, California. In addition to his excellent striking skills, Silva is extremely talented in the grappling realm. Silva holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. He holds a career record of 32-4 and has not lost since 2006.
Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar is a 25-year-old fighter from Munster, Indiana. He is actually returning from a brief retirement to take this bout, but is entering the fight on a three fight-winning streak. Like Silva, Bonnar is a black belt in BJJ and Tae Kwan Do, as well as holding a black belt in Kyrpa Karate. Bonnar is most notable as being a part of one of the most popular fights in MMA history; his first bout against Forrest Griffin at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale. Bonnar has spent time in Thailand training Muay Thai, but his best fighting is done on the ground, when he can take down his opponents and control them from top position. Bonnar is a member of the One Kick Nick’s Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bonnar holds a career record of 14-7.
Analysis and Prediction:: Bonnar has a couple of things going for him in this fight. He’s a large Light Heavyweight fighter, his ground skills and wrestling skills are relatively under rated and he’s tough as nails, having never been knocked out in his career. With that said, Silva also has a few things going for him in this bout he’s an extremely powerful puncher, he’s one of the most dynamic counter-strikers in the sport and he’s on a sixteen fight winning-streak.
Bonnar will enjoy a slight reach advantage in the fight, but that’s likely going to be offset by the counter-striking skills of Silva. Add to that fact that any time Bonnar spends trying to strike with Silva is probably time poorly spent for him. If there’s anything that Silva’s most recent bouts have proven it’s that there is a blue print to beat him. Rush him, take him down and hold him there, smother him. It’s not going to be pretty and it doesn’t have to be but that’s how it has to be done. Can Bonnar do that? Possibly, it’s certainly more likely that he steals two rounds out of three, as opposed to three out of five.
Really, Bonnar’s best game plan is to put his head down, throw a haymaker and move forward. He should have a size advantage against Silva and his best chance is to make Silva fight ugly. The longer the two men stand at range is longer that Silva has to get comfortable and establish range. Silva is an extremely accurate striker who moves well and he has made significantly better strikers than Bonnar look foolish inside the ring. Silva is going to need to keep the fight at range, constantly circling to avoid getting pressed against the cage. Silva is a master at controlling the octagon, and using his movement to keep the bout at a range where he wants it. Sonnen found some success by simply blitzing Silva, but as soon as he slowed down and tried to set up his advances with strikes he was reversed, knocked down and knocked out by the Middleweight Champion.
Silva is the pound for pound best fighter in the world for a reason. The likely outcome of this fight is that he earns a late TKO or a dominant decision. I would expect that fighting in front of his home crowd, he’s willing to go after it a little bit more. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing for Bonnar remains to be seen. I’ve already called a couple of upsets on this one, and I’d love to predict another one, just to act like a genius if it happens to go down, but I really don’t think it’s going to. Bonnar does have a chance in this bout, maybe better than a lot of people are giving him credit for, but he’s still a pretty sizeable underdog to the pound for pound champion. Anderson Silva via Unanimous Decision
Anderson Silva offered to save UFC 151 and fight on the show. Unfortunately that call came too late to the UFC. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise as Silva will now step up and save UFC 153 and headline the October show in front of his home country in Brazil.
The good news is that Anderson Silva is stepping up and fighting on a month’s notice. The bad news is that someone has to fight him. Enter Stephan Bonnar. The Ultimate Fighter 1 finalist will reportedly fight Silva at 205 in the new main-event on October 13. Hopefully Bonnar will be a little more competitive against Silva than his The Ultimate Fighter winner was back a couple of years ago.
This has to be a huge boost to a card that was headlined by a featherweight title fight. The Brazilian fans are now getting a chance to see their hometown hero fight live at UFC 153. Silva was originally slated to fight in Brazil in June against Chael Sonnen. The show was moved and Silva was so disappointed about not being able to fight in Brazil that he almost didn’t fight at all.
“We’re back on track,” UFC President Dana White told MMAjunkie.com. “Anderson Silva wasn’t scheduled to fight at all. I called him today, and he’s shooting a commercial in Brazil. Anderson Silva steps up, and Stephan Bonnar wants to fight him. The Teixeira vs. Maldonado fight comes together, and then Nogueira was standing right there with Anderson shooting the commercial with him, and he said he wanted to fight, too.
To be honest it is not a surprise at all to see Silva fighting. Silva offered to fight at UFC 151 at light heavyweight on eight days notice. He was also critical of Jon Jones for not fighting Chael Sonnen. It is a win-win for everyone here. Silva gets a safe fight against a well known opponent and the Brazilian fans get a star in the headliner. For once, things work out in the UFC’s favor.
Now what kind of chance does Bonnar have against Silva? I can’t imagine he has much of a chance at all. At the same time, Bonnar is a fun fighter and is riding a three-fight win streak. He is the kind of a fighter that will get in there and go for it. I am sure he is just as pumped to fight The Spider in Brazil as Silva is to fight on that night. It probably won’t be competitive, but it will certainly be a fun fight for a few minutes.
Say what you want about Silva but he is the last guy that you would expect to offer to save fights. For whatever reason, Silva appears to be itching to fight…well anyone but the middleweight title contenders. For all of the criticism he has received at times, this will put him over the top as an MMA fan favorite for the duration of his career. Take note Jon Jones.
Fabio Maldonado will step in for Rampage Jackson and fight Glover Teixeira. It is certainly less sexy than Jackson vs. Teixeira, but it has promise. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will also return to action after a lengthy layoff in front of his home country. Big Nog will fight Dave Herman in a heavyweight collision at UFC 153.