UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar Review – A Fun Night Of Fights
My review of UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar, which was a great card highlighted by the greatest of all-time.
Anderson Silva def. Stephan Bonnar: If there was ever any doubt about Silva’s greatness, he once again put it to bed in this fight. Silva could’ve won this fight in a phone booth. Hell, that’s exactly how he fought. He put his back against the cage, didn’t move, and let Bonnar try to do what he wanted. What Bonnar did was miss with a lot of punches, clinch, and did nothing. In return, Silva hit him with clean punches and talked to his corner. The man is absolutely amazing. The end came when Silva tripped Bonnar down and as Bonnar tried to get up, Silva hit him with a couple of punches followed by a knee to the body that crumpled him. A few punches on the ground and the ref stopped things. After the fight, Silva said, “I’m not the best, I just do things that people think are impossible.” He’s half right. Listen, we all knew Bonnar had no chance in this fight. UFC kept telling us how big he was (neglecting to mention Silva’s speed advantage) and how Bonnar has never been finished (neglecting to mention how Silva has finished “unfinishable” guys before) but this fight was over when it was booked. But the way Silva did it was what made it special. He gave Bonnar a chance. He let Bonnar have free shots against the cage and he let him use his size to clinch up against the cage. And he still won impressively and easily. Silva said he’s done at 205 and I’m fine with that. This guy has earned the right to call his own shots. He can fight whoever he wants, whenever he wants. I can hope for a fight against Georges St. Pierre or Jon Jones or Rashad Evans, but if Silva wants to fight Michael Bisping, then let him murder Michael Bisping. I’m just proud to be able to watch the guy compete for as long as he wants to compete. Bonnar has nothing to be ashamed of. He preformed pretty much how he was expected to. Now he can head back into retirement as the guy who still couldn’t win the big fight.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Dave Herman: I guess jiu-jiitsu does work. In fairness to Herman, jiu-jitsu only works when he wants it to, as he basically gave Nogueira the fight ending armbar in the second round. This fight was sad on a number of levels. Herman is a mediocre fighter at best and he showed it in the fight. He did a nice job with body kicks, but was handily out boxed and thoroughly dominated on the ground. Herman had his moments, with a couple of trip throws, but he fought a losing fight for the most part and in the end, he lost. That’s three straight losses for him now and he’s been finished in all of them, but considering the shallowness of the heavyweight division and given that Herman stepped up for this fight and the Roy Nelson fight, I’m sure he’ll get another one to once again showcase his mediocreness. Nogueira may have won, but man he looked bad, especially on the ground. He just looked slow out there and likely would’ve lost to a guy who actually decided to win. Nogueira obviously isn’t an elite fighter anymore, but he can still beat mediocre guys. If the UFC protects him, he can probably fight for a couple more years. But if they give him an above average guys, he probably gets beat and looks sad in the process. At this point for Nogueira, I’d look to just give him special attraction fights. Bring in Josh Barnett to complete that trilogy or bring back Mirko Cro Cop so we can relive their first bout. I’m sure Dan Henderson would be willing to move up if he loses to Lyoto Machida. There are options for Nogueira, I just hope they give us fan friendly fights where Nogueira loses to a top name fighter with a ton of potential or a former champion (kind of like how they did with Chuck Liddell) instead of having him face some guy who is going no where like Ben Rothwell.
Glover Teixeira def. Fabio Maldonado: TEIXEIRA IS A MURDEROUS KILLER! No, really, he nearly killed Maldonado in this fight. Teixeira caught Maldonado early on the feet, stumbled him a couple of times, dropped him, and then proceeded to beat the holy hell out of him on the ground for nearly five minutes. When Maldonado finally got up, he was stumbling around the cage like a drunk at last call. In a shocking moment though, Maldonado landed a left hook that staggered Teixeira. It nearly turned into one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history, but Teixeira shook it off and continued on. It was more of the same in the second round as Teixeira got an early takedown and battered the face of Maldonado with punches and elbows. Maldonado actually survived to the end of the second round, but the doctor rightfully decided that he was taking too much punishment to the head and stopped the fight. I give Maldonado credit for his toughness, but he got his ass kicked in this fight and his last three bouts, all losses, have likely taken years off his career. I’m sure people will look at Teixeira getting caught with a well placed left hook as a flaw in his game, but be real. Teixeira took a brief sympathy break, got a bit lazy, and got caught by a powerful striker. There’s no chance he does that against a high level opponent. Teixeira proved that he’s ready for a step up in competition, but UFC would be smart to protect him a bit. I’d like to see them revisit Teixeira vs. Quinton Jackson, because Jackson is unmotivated and definitely past his prime, making him easy pickings for a guy like Teixeira. And if Teixeira can’t beat Jackson at this point, then he doesn’t deserve all the hype and praise he’s been getting. And to Teixeira’s credit, he called out Jackson after the fight, so hopefully the UFC brass listens.
Jon Fitch def. Erick Silva: Fitch reminded everyone that he’s still one of the best at 170 in this one. Silva had his moments, including landing a couple of big strikes in the first round and submitting almost anyone in the world not named Fitch or Ben Henderson in the second round, but Fitch did what he’s done his entire career: wear guys out with his grappling and pressure. Fitch was all over Silva from the start of this fight, constantly taking him down, improving his position, going for submissions, and punishing him with strikes. Silva looked comfortable and relaxed to start the fight, but at the end of the first round, he knew what it was like to be tested against a veteran guy who has a relentless pace and is tough as nails. I give Silva a lot of credit though. A lesser man would’ve been fully broken after the paces Fitch put him through in round one, but Silva came back strong in the second round, got the back for a period of time, and, as mentioned, would’ve submitted a much lesser man. Fitch finished the round strong though by nearly locking up an armbar, which may have been the move that broke Silva, because in the third round Silva offered little resistance as Fitch just had his way with him. I’d love to see Fitch take on Demain Maia next, because if anyone can submit Fitch, it would be Maia. There are a variety of options for Fitch though. Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit if he loses to Georges St. Pierre, Martin Kampmann is he loses to Johnny Hendricks, and Jake Ellenberger are all options along with Maia. Silva should be back stronger than ever after this fight as long as he doesn’t dwell on the loss and looks at the positives. He went three hard rounds against one of the best in the division and held his own for awhile. Silva is a very promising fighter and this fight will only help him in the long run.
Phil Davis def. Wagner Prado: If not for the eyepoke in the first fight, the second fight went exactly how that one would’ve went. Prado hits hard and is a solid striker, but his wrestling and grappling isn’t even close to the level of Davis, who didn’t play around too long on the feet. Davis did a nice job keeping his distance and when he wanted to, he quickly shot in and got an easy takedown. In the first round, Davis just controlled Prado and roughed him up with some strikes. In the second though, he worked to better his position and set up submissions. After failing on an arm triangle, Davis immediately locked up an anaconda choke to get the submission victory. I’m not ready to declare Davis back in contention and ready to fight Jon Jones, because Prado was way in over his head, but this was a much needed victory and finish for Davis. As I always say, when you’re a leagues above your opponent, you should ice them easily, and that’s what Davis did. Davis against a guy like Thiago Silva or Ryan Bader, or even Quinton Jackson in his “last” UFC fight would be a suitable bout and step up in competition for Davis. As for Prado, we’ll see what he’s really made of when he fights a guy who is more on his level.
Demain Maia def. Rick Story: Maia aint messing around at welterweight. He wasted no time striking in this fight, clinched up, and got a couple of trip takedowns before eventually taking the back and submitting Story with a neck crank. Everyone knows that Maia is a monster on the ground, but people don’t realize just how good his takedowns are in the clinch. Now that he’s at 170, where he won’t be at a size disadvantage, he’s able to use his strength in the clinch to get guys to the ground. And of course when you’re on the ground against Maia, you’re in a ton of trouble. I thought Story was overrated since he beat Thiago Alves, but he’s still a very tough fighter who had never been finished. Maia will obviously struggle against guys that he can’t takedown, but it’s nice to see that he’s returned to his “get it to the ground by any means necessary” style. He may never earn a title shot, but that style is going to beat a lot of guys at 170.