Saturday night's UFC 153 card takes place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and is headlined by a light heavyweight matchup between longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar. Bonnar will look to score one of the biggest upsets in MMA history in a fight that is a mismatch on paper.
In preliminary action, jiu jitsu specialist Cristiano Marcello utilized his striking to score a close split decision victory over Reza Madadi and American Chris Camozzi won a unanimous decision over Brazilian favorite Luiz Cane that dropped the once promising Cane to 1-4 in his last five bouts.
In the FX portion of the card, Sergio Moraes scored his first UFC win by defeating Renee Forte with a third round rear naked choke. Former Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Brandao rebounded from an upset loss to Darren Elkins by defeating Joey Gambino via unanimous decision. Well respected lightweight veteran Gleison Tibau picked up a hard fought unanimous decision victory over Francisco Trinaldo. In the FX main event, popular Ultimate Fighter Brazil winner Rony Jason won a wild slugfest via second round TKO over Sam Sicilia.
Demian Maia vs. Rick Story
Story is a gritty fighter who relies on his wrestling, clinching and pressure to score wins. Maia is a jiu jitsu ace, although he hasn't actually won a fight via submission since early 2009. Maia's standup skills have greatly improved in the interim, however.
Round 1. Story lands a solid punch at the start of the fight. Maia responds by taking Story down to the mat. Story looks to stand up against the cage while Maia works to keep him pinned to the ground. As Story tries to get up, Maia locks up a rear naked choke. Maia isn't able to get the arm all the way under the chin, but he squeezes Story's chin and face hard and Story is forced to tap out to the pressure.
Winner: Demian Maia, submission, round 1.
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado
This bout is a rematch, as the two fighters fought in August only to have the fight end in 90 seconds with an accidental eye poke no contest. Prado, an undefeated striking specialist, was looking good in the brief period prior to the poke. Davis, a former NCAA wrestling champion, is a dangerous mix of elite wrestling and a fast developing submission game.
Round 1. After a feeling out process, Davis looks to clinch and take down Prado a minute into the fight. Prado defends without difficulty. Prado lands a head kick moments later. In the midst of a striking exchange, Davis takes Prado down. As Prado looks to stand up, Davis tries to go for a rear naked choke much like Maia did in the first fight. Prado stands up but Davis slams him right back down with authority. Davis lands some punches and pulls Prado back down when Prado tries to stand. Prado once more gets to his feet and once more is thrown down as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Davis.
Round 2. Prado is reluctant to open up standing after all the takedowns in the first round. Davis shoots in and takes Prado down around 90 seconds into the round. Prado gets back up halfway through the round and Davis backs away. Prado is moving slowly and throwing little, appearing worn down from the early pressure of Davis. Davis slams Prado down with two minutes left in the round. He locks up an arm triangle choke but Prado is able to wiggle out. Davis nicely transitions into a gator roll and gets the submission with the anaconda choke.
Winner: Phil Davis, submission, round 2.
Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva
The stakes are high in this welterweight showdown. Silva has looked dominant in his early UFC career and a win against Fitch could set up a long run as a top 10 fighter in the 170 pound division. Fitch is a perpetual contender in the division, but rarely gets high profile bouts because his workmanlike style is often less than thrilling. An impressive win here would make a big difference in Fitch's future.
Round 1. Fitch lands a couple leg kicks early. Silva goes for a knee and Fitch takes Silva down. A scramble ensues, with Fitch grabbing Silva's back up against the cage. Fitch neutralizes Silva against the cage and lands a series of punches to the side of the head. Fitch grabs a standing arm triangle choke but Silva gets out of danger and they separate. Silva cracks Fitch with a big right hand and clinches. They grapple for position with Fitch landing a few knees. They exchange elbows on the break. Silva throws a spinning back kick. They clinch again and exchange knees to the body. Fitch drops down and goes for another takedown. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 2. Silva switches stances early in the fight. Fitch throws a series of uppercuts from close range but Silva sweeps his leg and looks to secure a crucifix position. Silva loses that but grabs Fitch's back and throws a series of heavy punches to the head. Fitch stands up with Silva retaining his back. Fitch finally breaks free and moves forward with punches. Fitch clinches against the cage and looks for another takedown. Silva is able to defend so Fitch just leans against Silva and lands knees to the legs. Silva grabs Fitch's back and locks up what looks to be an extremely tight rear naked choke. Fitch miraculously is able to avoid submitting despite what appears to be extreme danger. Fitch rolls over and gains top position. He begins dropping down punches and as Silva tries to get up, Fitch takes Silva's back. Fitch switches to an armbar but Silva is able to roll out of trouble as the round concludes. Very exciting round; remarkably tenacity demonstrated by both fighters. 10-9 Silva.
Round 3. Fitch moves forward with a hard straight right punch and throws Silva to the ground. Silva looks exhausted and his resistance is diminishing rapidly. Fitch throws a long series of punches to the head and Silva is bleeding. Fitch through sheer will has pushed past a younger, more athletic foe. Silva is able to get up and grabs a guillotine choke in the scramble. He is forced to give it up and Fitch goes back to pounding on Silva. Silva gets up but Fitch keeps pounding and slams Silva right back down. Fitch takes full mount and throws punch after punch, elbow after elbow. He is badly beating up Silva and Silva is just hanging on. Fitch keeps punching and punching and Silva has no answers whatsoever. Silva finally manages to get up at the end and Fitch tries to choke him as the round ends. 10-8 Fitch, 29-27 Fitch.
Winner: Jon Fitch, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado
We move from one extremely highly touted prospect to another. Teixeira isn't young, but he has finally gotten past the visa problems that long delayed his UFC debut. That will allow him to test himself against elite competition after winning 16 straight fights on smaller circuits including wins over six different UFC veterans. Maldonado is a tough, durable fighter who excels in the boxing game and presents an interesting challenge for Teixeira.
Round 1. Teixeira connects with a heavy left hook early. He lands another moments later and Maldonado goes down. Teixeira quickly mounts and drops down elbows. Maldonado looks to push Teixeira off but doesn't come close. Teixeira keeps landing heavy elbows. Teixeira is landing with tremendous power. Maldonado has a heck of a chin but he's getting destroyed. Teixeira looks for an arm triangle choke. He has it pretty tight but Maldonado is able to avoid getting submitted. Teixeira transitions back into mount. Maldonado is able to courageously stand up but he can barely stand. Teixeira is picking him apart but Maldonado fires back with a couple hard left hooks that stun Teixeira. Teixeira takes him down at the close of the round. 10-7 Teixeira. The fight should have been stopped. Maldonado has taken an unbelievable beating and his health is in jeopardy.
Round 2. Texiera takes Maldonado down but is tired. Maldonado gets up but Teixeira takes him down again. Teixeira gets full mount again. Teixeira drops down more heavy elbows. Teixeira works into side control. Maldonado is able to secure half guard. Teixeira keeps dropping punches onto Maldonado's badly disfigured face. The fight is stood back up and the doctor is called in to look at Maldonado. The doctor wants to stop the fight but is convinced to let it go. They return to the standing position. Maldonado's feet are still unsteady. Teixeira lands a heavy left hook and a straight right. 10-8 Teixeira.
The doctor finally does the right thing and stops the fight. Disgraceful performance by referee Mario Yamasaki, some of the worst and most dangerous refereeing in the history of the sport.
Winner: Glover Teixeira, TKO, round 2.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman
Nogueira is one of the all time legends of the sport, a superb submission fighter and solid boxer with excellent toughness. He's also at the tail end of a long career with stoppage losses in three of his last five fights after never having been stopped the first 37 fights of his career. Herman is dangerous early in fights but tends to fade and finds ways to lose. He has lost his last two fights but maintains his belief that jiu jitsu does not work.
Round 1. Herman throws a knee and a head kick early. Nogueira clinches but Herman throws Nogueira to the ground. They scramble with Herman landing punches from the top. Nogueira lands a few punches and Herman ducks out of the way. They clinch and Herman throws a hard knee to the body and to the head. Nogueira clinches again. They work inside and separate. Nogueira lands a nice 1-2 punching combination. He clinches again and looks for a takedown. They separate and Herman looks to keep range on Nogueira and land kicks from the outside. Nogueira again closes the distance and goes for a takedown. Herman blocks it and they return to the feet. Herman oddly stands completely still and eats a pair of punches. Nogueira lands a pair of punches late. Close round. Herman had the best success of the round, but Nogueira was more consistent with his offense. 10-9 Nogueira.
Round 2. Nogueira drops Herman with a ground and pursues to the ground. Nogueira works his way into side control and looks for a keylock submission. Herman avoids it but Nogueira takes mount and goes for an armbar. Herman defends ably. They scramble back to their feet. Nogueira lands a few punches and takes Herman back down. He works back into mount. Nogueira again looks for an armbar. Herman defends very well once more and rolls over twice. Herman has to tap.
Winner: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, submission, round 2.
Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar
This fight was made when the main event for UFC 153 fell through twice - first Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch then Jose Aldo vs. Frank Edgar. With limited options, UFC elected to go with this. Silva is one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, undefeated in the UFC and UFC middleweight champion since 2006. Bonnar is a popular fighter based on his time on the original season of the Ultimate Fighter and epic fight with Forrest Griffin. Unfortunately, he's 5-5 in his last ten and his most famous fights are losses to Griffin, who Silva destroyed seemingly almost without effort.
Round 1. Bonnar charges forward. Silva slips and Bonnar goes for a takedown. Bonnar throws some punches from the clinch while Silva throws a couple knees and defends. Bonnar has a good grip but Silva is able to block it. Silva grabs a Thai plum but has to let it go to defend. They continue to work against the cage. Silva throws a shoulder strike and punch. He opens up with a few punches from inside and keeps his hands down. Silva sticks out his chin and purposely eats punches. He's standing next to the cage with his chin up and fists down. Silva eats some heavy punches but they don't seem to bother him in the slightest. He keeps his hands low, mocking Bonnar. Silva trips Bonnar and then swarms with a heavy knee to the body that drops Bonnar. Silva follows with punches on the ground and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Anderson Silva, TKO, round 1.
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