• UFC 153 preview

UFC 153: Fun fight, dead fight or axis-shaking fight?

ESPN staff
October 12, 2012
Stephan Bonnar ready to shock the world

The best there has ever been against - arguably - the bravest there has ever been. Anderson Silva: owner of 13 UFC stoppages, up against Stephan Bonnar: only ever stopped by cuts.

One of two things will happen on Saturday night... either Silva will cement his status as the most lethal mixed martial artist ever to grace the planet by becoming the first man to knock out Bonnar; or Bonnar will pull off the greatest upset in the sport's history. Either way, it's an Anderson Silva fight - which makes it unmissable.

Prior to the main event we get to find out if Erick Silva is genuinely the man to end Georges St-Pierre's reign at welterweight, while Glover Teixeira looks to boost his cause for a shot at Jon Jones. Well worth the ticket...

Anderson Silva v Stephan Bonnar

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Where the fight could be won or lost: How would Stephan Bonnar win this fight? Well, one thing he has going for him is that it's three rounds. A five-rounder against Anderson Silva, with the way Bonnar cuts, would have been basically unwinnable. In a three-round fight, maybe Bonnar can get things to the ground early, wear on Silva from the top position and maybe, just maybe, steal two of three on the scorecards. That's his best bet: get it on the floor.

He'll be wickedly outmatched on the feet. The speed difference between these two is literally indescribable. Bonnar is experienced, fearless and durable. For those reasons, he's somewhat capable of giving Silva an ugly fight, but his athletic disadvantages will be tough to overcome. It's a desperately thrown-together fight that plays almost entirely to Anderson Silva's strengths. Stephan Bonnar has no quit in him, but he doesn't have the defence in his stand-up to make Silva miss. He also lacks a ton of knockout power, and Silva has a good chin anyway.

The pick: Anderson Silva - KO

Minotauro Nogueira v Dave Herman

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira returns from his broken arm © Getty Images

Where the fight could be won or lost: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a tough heavyweight to predict now. Respectfully, he looked like an old man in fights against Randy Couture and Cain Velasquez three years ago. He took a year off to get healthy and looked much better against Brendan Schaub and Frank Mir. Now, another injury, another layoff - how's he going to look?

He's a better fighter than Dave Herman. Herman is a 233lb fly in this division who buzzes around with a high pace, but he's years behind Nogueira technique-wise, and he has that nasty habit of dropping his hands and sticking his chin in the air. Nogueira should win this on the feet, and if he has any explosiveness left, he could probably take it to the ground, too. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira turned back the clock in his past two fights, showing more pop in his step than we thought he had left. What did the devastating loss to Frank Mir take from him, though - both mentally and physically? Regardless, he's got enough left for Dave Herman.

The pick: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - Submission

Jon Fitch v Erick Silva

Jon Fitch was knocked out by Erick Silva in his last fight © Getty Images

Where the fight could be won or lost: Now we're really going to find out what Erick Silva is all about. He checks out so far. Athleticism, technique, takedown defence, grappling - all checks. Jon Fitch is like water, though; he'll find a hole if it's there. The way to fight Silva is the way Fitch fights: constant pressure. Stand on the outside, and you're going to have a bad night. Silva's footwork is terrific, and he's got serious knockout power. But if you pressure him, push him against a fence and fight in the clinch, you take some of his athleticism away. In the Charlie Brenneman win, Silva demonstrated he's not lost fighting off his back and he can threaten with submissions.

Of course, Fitch's top game figures to be a little tougher. There's a lot of love for Erick Silva now, and he's worthy of it. But don't forget how good Jon Fitch is. Before his last fight, Fitch hadn't been finished since 2002. It's hard to see it happening in back-to-back fights. He'll take this into deep waters, and Silva has to be aware that scorecards love Jon Fitch.

The pick: Erick Silva - TKO

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