Hard to believe the last time we did this was Silva’s last fight, the rematch vs Sonnen. Blake went 7-0 and I, Riot went 3-4. Now we turn our sights to UFC 153. The card is headlined by Silva vs Bonnar, and features some really great undercard fights. Firecracker Erik Silva takes on human blanket Jon Fitch and light heavyweight rock-em sock-em robots Glover Texeira and Fabio Maldonado square off. Let’s get started.
Demian Maia -145 vs Rick Story +125 :
Blake: The UFC 153 card starts out with one of the absolute best welter weight match ups I’ve ever seen. Demian Maia was one of the top middle weights in the world but after his lack luster title fight with Anderson Silva he had a hard time stringing together a few wins. After his last loss to Chris Weidman he decided to drop down a division. His first fight at the new weight was against fellow grappler Dong Hyun Kim. Sadly the fight ended almost immediately when Maia took him down with a body lock and one of Kim’s ribs popped. Story is facing a similar situation. After wins over Johnny Hendricks and Thiago Alves he was rocketed up the ranks. However after disappointing losses to Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann he needs to prove he is still relevant. Stylistically this fight is incredible. Maia is a world renowned Grappler. Not only is his BJJ top notch but he has proven time and again he is an incredible wrestler as well. Story is a wrestler by trade but his boxing and chin are really what are impressive about him. He has shown an ability to lay back as well as be incredibly aggressive. They are both very strong in the clinch. As well as being a great wrestler Rick has pretty good sub defense and his whole camp will have consisted of getting out of bad situations. I honestly have no idea how this one will end. I expect Story to come out like a mad dog from round one and try to break Maia with pace and pressure. If he starts landing it will be an easy TKO for him. Maia can just as easily lure him into a trap using his aggression against him. I always hate picking when I’m such a big fan of both but sadly I’m going to go with Story by TKO.
Riot: I am really looking forward to this fight. Maia is an amazing grappler, but I Story has to yet to be submitted. I think Story is going to control this fight. I see him pressing Maia against the cage, a couple of referee break ups and it will go right back to the cage. Maia may come up with some suspenseful moments where he is close to a submission, but Story will hang on for the decision.
Phil Davis -360 vs Wagner Prado +300 :
Blake: This fight is actually a rematch. During Wagner’s debut fight in the UFC with Phil Davis he suffered an eye poke that rendered the match a no contest. Considering the injury happened only a minute and a half into the first round it’s hard to say how they will fare against each other based on that. This is yet another stylistic match up. However instead of the two men sharing a style this is the classic Striker vs Grappler. Phil Davis has proven a well rounded game and shown he can fight great strikers with knock out power and not get KO’d (Rashad Evans, Alexander Gustuffson, Brian Stann, and Little Nog). He is one of the absolute best wrestlers in the game and has been developing a nice submission game. While he may only be a blue belt it’s a blue belt from Lloyd Irvin and being a 4 time NCAA Division 1 All American from Penn State will tip all the grappling in his favor. Wagner is also a blue belt but in this case that’s a very bad thing for him. That means he’s only been grappling for a year to three years. I’d say he’s likely around two. His whole camp will be based around take down defense, which I honestly don’t think will serve him well for more than a round unless he can start getting his hands on him. It should be noted that Prado has won all but one of his fights by knock out though. I see Davis staying on the outside using his kicks and reach to keep Wagner on the outside. Davis tends to like the outside double and will time one. I say round 2 submission for Phil Davis.
Riot: The beauty of a card in Brazil is that we get to see some up and coming Brazilians on the big stage. The first time this fight happened was in LA, and an accidental eye poke ended the fight in a no contest. This time around, the UFC gave Prado a chance to fight in his own backyard. I am not sure it is going to make a difference. Prado sports a nice 8-0 record, but only two of those wins came vs opponents whom own winning records. One of those winning record holders is 4-3. Prado has some power in his strikes, but that power comes from the legs, and his legs will be useless when he is on the ground. I like Davis by submission after a bit of ground and pound.
Erik Silva -135 vs Jon Fitch +115:
Blake: On first look this would also seem a striker vs grappler match up but when you consider Silva’s black belt and overall impressiveness it’s hard to designate it suchly. Jon Fitch many of you will know as the long time Number 2 welter weight in the world. More of you will know him as a substitute for most sleeping aids. He’s looking to get back on top, especially after his last outing, and do so in spectacular fashion. Right now Erik Silva may be the most dangerous man in the division. He’s looking a lot like a giant Jose Aldo. Not only are their talents similar but their attitudes. On his climb up Jose became more and more fearless. He acted and seemed indestructible. Silva right now is brimming with well deserved confidence and has the mental edge to defeat anyone. For Fitch to win he will need to break his spirit (actually Fitch’s whole game), defend against constant attacks both standing and on the ground, get to the ground, and stay busy. I have to pull for Silva right now. I like what he is developing in to. KO by Silva.
Riot: Shhhh, don’t look now, but we may see an interesting Fitch fight. Erik Silva is the real deal. This guy has been in some wars and come out on top. He is one of those hybrids where both his striking and ground game are amazing. In order for Fitch to win, this fight would have to go to a three round decision. That is at least guaranteed three times this fight will be standing up. However, it won’t matter. I think Silva dominates this fight from start to finish… which I put somewhere in the 1st round honestly. Silva by KO/TKO.
Glover Texeira -370 vs Fabio Maldonado +310:
Blake: Many people are greatly saddened that Rampage had to pull out of this fight but in all honesty I like this one better. Not only does it make more sense in terms of rankings I personally didn’t want to see Rampage lose his last fight. Texeira has always been one of the best fighters around that the UFC had not picked up. In his debut he made a huge statement by destroying Kyle Kingsbury on the feet and finishing him with an arm triangle in under two minutes. Fabio has been having some odd troubles lately. He lost his last two fights, to the outrage of many viewers, to Igor Prokrajak and Kyle Kingsbury. Many attribute this to his penchant for body shots and not going to the head till the third round. I really look forward to this incredible and technical striking match. I’m going to have to give the upper hand to Texeira. He has the power and the better all around game. Texeira by UD. FOTN.
Riot: Whenever you get two guys with the same style, striking in this case, victory usually seems to favor the more proficient fighter. Sometimes the weaker one wins, but not very often. The truth is, Glover Texeria is a beast, and his demolition of Kyle Kingsbury shows that he is ready for the UFC ladder. Most Texeria fights do not make it out of the first round, but when you get two really good strikers going at it, they play alot more defense then you think. I will take Texeria by decision…. a very unanimous decision.
Big Nog -290 vs Dave Herman +245:
Blake: I don’t care what anyone says, Nogueira has nothing to prove in this fight. He has looked incredible in his last two. On his return to the Octagon after a huge lay off he KO’d Brendan Schaub and nearly did the same to Frank Mir. Had he not made the terrible decision to drop for a guillotine when he had Mir’s back he would not have suffered the broken arm and we wouldn’t be watching this fight. As long as he’s healed up I don’t see how Herman can win this one. However Herman is incredibly durable and in this sport you never really know. Especially when a guy is fighting for his job as this will loss will mean the dreaded three in a row. Big Nog by Submission.
Riot: I like Big Nog in this fight, not so much cause I like Big Nog, as much as I simply do not trust Dave Herman. I remember in his fight with John Olav Einemo, everybody talked about how Einemo’s only chance was to get it to the ground, yet there were many cases where Einemo was rocking Herman while on the feet. Herman won his first round vs Struve, but then got beat up in the 2nd quite badly. I think Nog still has a little bit left in the tank…. not much… but still enough to outclass Herman. Nog by TKO.
Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar:
Blake: I love this fight. This is something no one would have ever expected to have happen. Under no other circumstances would these two have fought one another. Bonnar is always game and I expect him to treat this like the battle of the Terminators in number two: Judgment Day. The T-1000, Silva, clearly has all the technical superiorities and by all accounts should win the fight. However Arnold, Bonnar, can take a beating and somehow finds a way to beat the cybernetic masterpiece even after losing his arm. Sadly Linda Hamilton will not be allowed in the octagon to help Stephan fight Silva but if they ever start doing cut throat matches in the UFC that would be the first on my dream list. Everyone leading up to this fight is talking about Bonnar’s size. Honestly unless he gets it to the ground that will mean less than nothing, ask Yushin Okami. His last fight was by far is most impressive performance though. He showed that he is a legitimate black belt and can really throw his weight around. He has also drastically improved his muay thai. In all actuality though this fight is Silva vs Forrest 2.0. Anderson is going to look like some sort of striking god on an experimental drug that not only slows down his perception of time but allows him to move faster. What makes this fight fun is unlike Griffin Bonnar is likely to make less embarrassing mistakes and to keep coming even if his jaw is broken by a jab. He won’t revere Silva, he’s going to pull a page right out of Sonnen’s book and just go for it. He needs to minimize the damage he takes and come out aggressive early. Push him against the cage and use his size to wear Silva down. Definitely try and get it to the ground where it’s a much more even playing field. Sadly I don’t think anyone in the world can keep walking through Silva’s punches and eventually the engine that could will just run out of steam, or blood however you want to look at it. Anderson by KO.
Riot: This is really happening ? For real ? Bonnar is fighting Silva ? …. Honestly, I like Bonnar and was quite worried when he lost to Coleman, although, I did bet on Coleman, I felt it was a sign the Bonnar no longer had what it took. I was wondering if the UFC could really cut one of their poster boys …. and here we are now… Bonnar has gone 3-1 since that fight and now has a shot at being the first guy to beat Silva in the UFC! God bless America. Remember this fight is at Light Heavyweight and will not be for the Middleweight title. It will however be a 5 round fight…. it will probably just only need one though. Bigger bodies make bigger targets … with Anderson Silva, every part of his body is a weapon. If it were legal, Silva would probably beat and choke people with his penis. Luckily for Bonnar, it is not legal. Knees and fist are legal though, and that will doom Bonnar. This will be an ugly, ugly fight ….. Good luck Bonnar. Silva, TKO rd 1.
There you have it. It is not in my nature to predict predominantly favorites, but we make our picks before looking at the lines and but I do feel that the lines are where they should be. It also deeply saddens me that Blake and I have all the same picks. I do not foresee this happening anytime soon! Now let us know who you are picking to win !!