UFC 153 will take place this Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All main card bouts are previewed below.
Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar (light heavyweight)
UFC 153’s main event between Silva and Bonnar looks like a massive mismatch on paper. The bookies apparently agree because Bonnar as high as a 10-to-1 underdog in some locations. Fighting as a massive underdog in the dominant middleweight champion’s backyard certainly takes the pressure off of the always gutsy Bonnar. That will show as Bonnar demonstrates impressive heart and determination in taking the fight to Silva. Unfortunately, that heart will not be enough to stop him from being picked apart by Silva’s far faster and more powerful barrage of strikes. Look for Silva to feel out his opponent in the first round, then TKO a charging Bonnar in the second.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman (heavyweight)
Unlike the main event, the co-main event between “Big Nog” and “Pee-Wee” Herman is an extremely competitive matchup on paper. The bout has added excitement due to Herman’s dismissal of jiu jitsu as an ineffective martial art. Nogueira, a highly decorated jiu jitsu black belt, will likely wish to prove otherwise. On the feet, both men possess solid knockout power, with the edge in technique going to Nogueira. Herman’s tendency to swing for the fences will cost him against the more compact boxing of Nogueira. Look for Nog to drop him early, then finish him by submission.
Glover Texeira vs. Fabio Maldonado (light heavyweight)
The oft-ducked Texeira finally finds himself with an opponent in Maldonado. Texeira possesses solid skills in all areas of the game, including striking, wrestling and submissions. Maldonado is less skillful on the ground, but he possesses a 22-0 record as a boxer. Unfortunately for him, Texeira will not allow him to throw hands for long, taking him down and pounding him out in the second round.
Erick Silva vs. Jon Fitch (welterweight)
Silva vs. Fitch is one of the card’s more intriguing matchups. There is little doubt that Fitch will emerge victorious by decision if the fight lasts all three rounds. His control-focused style is certainly effective at earning decisions, if not fans. Silva is an explosive young fighter who is dangerous both standing and on the ground. However, this fight will likely pivot on whether he can defend Fitch’s continual takedown attempts. He will likely find himself on his back on a few occasions, especially early, but eventually he will land a fast combo that puts Fitch down for the second straight fight.
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado (light heavyweight)
This is a rematch of a fight at UFC on Fox 4 in August that was cut short due to an accidental eye poke. Prado likely has a slight edge in skill on his feet, but is at a wrestling disadvantage that Davis will exploit repeatedly on his way to a decision victory.
Demian Maia vs. Rick Story (welterweight)
Few individuals currently competing in mixed martial arts can come close to matching Demian Maia’s pedigree as a submission grappler. His losses have primarily come when he attempted to rely on his far less developed striking instead of his ground game. Story is a solid wrestler with good power in his hands. If he does get taken down, of course, it will likely not take Maia long to submit him. In fact, he would be wise to forgo any thought of offensive wrestling in this bout and concentrate instead on staying on his feet and away from Maia’s dangerous guard. He will not finish Maia, but he will likely earn a decision victory via this strategy.