UFC 153 takes place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil tomorrow night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for your below.
Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar
Needless to say that odds are firmly stacked against Bonnar in this fight. What he has in his favor is his size, his toughness and his granite-like chin. Aside from that he’s a solid fighter, but like the fighter he’ll forever be linked with, Forrest Griffin, he doesn’t really excel in any one area and isn’t a power puncher (3 finishes by strikes in 14 career victories, none by clean KO).
Silva should have a field day in the striking realm here as he’s much faster than his opponent, far more creative, has pinpoint precision striking and hits harder, with the Brazilian superstar having shown in the past that the move up to 205lbs in no way diminishes his power.
I do wonder whether he can definitely finish Bonnar as quickly as he did against both Griffin and James Irvin at light-heavyweight though given ‘The American Psycho’s durability. Bonnar’s defense largely consists of offense so there will be opportunities, but his main achilles heel is that he bleeds all too easily.
I see Silva taking full advantage of that, working in his muay thai skills with elbow and knee strikes as picks apart Bonnar in the opening round or two, leading to a doctor’s stoppage due to cuts. If the fight goes any longer than that I think it’ll work even more into Silva’s hands as Bonnar begins to tire and leaves more openings to attack.
Anderson Silva to win by TKO in Rd2.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman
It’s a little concerning that Big Nog volunteered to fight at short notice for this event given that he’s coming back after a severe broken arm courtesy of Frank Mir and has a habit of getting into the cage again too quickly after being injured.
However, the UFC have been relatively kind to him here as Herman is someone he does stand a good chance against. Herman’s main advantages in this fight will be his speed and unorthadox striking style, but if Nogueira can get the fight to the floor he’ll have a huge advantage.
Nogueira’s chin is questionable these days, but Herman’s isn’t the best either having been convincingly stopped in his past two fights. Nog does hit hard and has solid boxing ability so he can hold his own in that department.
His biggest risk here is being dragged into the later rounds as his cardio will be brought into question, but I see Nogueira getting the job done before that with a relatively easy submission.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to win by submission in Rd1.
Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado
These two Brazilian’s could potentially put on a striking clinic for their hometown fans tomorrow night.
Teixeira is the heavier handed of the two men and offers a more versatile offense, but Maldonado’s boxing is certainly crisp and his work to the body is particularly effective.
However, Teixeira has the more well-rounded mixed martial arts game and so if his striking isn’t getting the job done then his BJJ skills, or perhaps even ground and pound could well come into play. Either way I think he’ll use the ground game to emerge with his hand raised in this one.
Glover Teixeira to win by submission in Rd2.
Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva
This is a very intriguing fight that could either usher Silva into the big leagues as a major force in the UFC’s welterweight division, or reestablish Fitch as a key player at 170lbs who’s got no intention of moving aside for the next generation.
If he gets his way Fitch will look to turn this into the kind of fight he’s renowned for – getting Silva to the mat and using his wrestling to grind him down over 15 minutes in a fashion that won’t be fun to watch, but will get him back in the win column.
Silva’s a unique talent though. He’s already shown he can deal with a grinding wrestler from his win over Charlie Brenneman, and though Fitch is a step above, his speed, athleticism, high-level striking and swift takedown defense will pose his opponent a signficant problem.
If does get put on his back Silva also happens to be a submission specialist, so he’ll still be a threat, though finding room to operate under Fitch will undoubtedly be difficult.
In his performances so far Silva has seemed to be almost too good to be true. This will let us know for sure though, and i’m gambling that he is the real deal and will stuff enough of Fitch’s takedowns to make him pay on the feet.
Erick Silva to win by TKO in Rd2.
Demian Maia vs. Rick Story
Story will provide stiff opposition for Maia and should give us a good indication of whether the former middleweight can mount a significant challenge at 170lbs.
Maia’s welterweight debut ended rather prematurely so it was difficult to take too much from it, but it was good to see that he was embracing his BJJ game again, as it is lethal. Story’s wrestling will make him tricky to get to the mat however, and he can provide stifling control from top control if he’s the one initiating the takedown.
Meanwhile, on the feet Maia’s still never fully adapted to the striking game despite his best efforts, coming off as awkward at best and lacking in the power department. Story is a bulldog and won’t give him the kind of room he likes to operate, instead pushing forward relentlessly and roughing him up with strikes from close range and dirty boxing from the clinch when possible.
Story’s a tough fight for anyone, and I see him giving Maia an uncomfortable, gruelling night and emerging with a decision win for his troubles.
Rick Story to win by decision.
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado
I picked Davis to win their first encounter a few months ago, and I see no reason to change that opinion now.
Davis is the better wrestler and if he’s smart, which I think he is, he’ll use it in this fight as his striking is still a work in progress and that happens to be where Prado is at his most dangerous.
On the floor Davis poses a submission threat, but I think he’ll have to settle for wearing Prado down with strikes over three rounds en-route to a comfortable decision victory.
Phil Davis to win by decision.
Rony Jason vs. Sam Sicilia
Diego Brandao vs. Joey Gambino
Gleison Tibau vs. Francisco Drinaldo
Sergio Moraes vs. Renee Forte
Luiz Cane vs. Chris Camozzi
Cristiano Marcello vs. Reza Madadi