Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images/Zuffa LLC.
UFC hit the pay-per-view circuits again as UFC 153 invaded Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, much to the delight of the thousands of rabid Brazilian fans in attendance. MMAmania.com runs down the winners and losers from Rio.
After a couple of consecutive free mixed martial arts (MMA) cards, it was time to get back to Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) bread and butter with another pay-per-view card, as UFC 153 took center stage in Rio de Janeiro on Sat., Oct. 13, 2012.
The main event featured questionably the greatest of all time ("GOAT"), UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva, in a rare Light Heavyweight match up versus Stephan Bonnar, who had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
There was no title up for grabs, but "The Spider" certainly put his legacy on the line against a fighter who is always dangerous, and who was rabidly frothing at the mouth for a chance to take down one of the sport's true legends.
But it wasn't to be for "The American Psycho," who, despite his best efforts, ended up like all of Silva's UFC opponent's who have gone before him. And it was ugly.
The pairing was a unique one for a co-main event, as "Minotauro" was coming off one of the worst losses of his career against Frank Mir at UFC 140 in Toronto, Ontario on Dec. 10, 2011, and Herman was riding two consecutive losses, looking to avoid his third in a row.
But when the injury bug hits a card, beggars can't be choosers.
It was a bit of a sobering episode for Herman, who learned the hard way that Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) might not be so "stupid" after all, when "Big Nog" reached deep into his bag of tricks, found "Pee Wee's" arm, and cranked on it until Herman had no choice but to tap.
So, let's talk winners and losers.
Some fans would go with Silva as the biggest winner from UFC 153's main card. I understand the argument. He looked amazing. He beat up another light heavyweight who was supposed to come in and give him a serious run for his money. He proved again that, when he wants to be, he can be pretty freaking invincible.
But, I'm not going that route.
Silva was supposed to win, and he was supposed to win like that. Any other result would have been surprising. It's fun to make believe and pretend, but Silva dismantling Bonnar in round one is absolutely par for the course.
You might even want to nominate Nogueira. That's not a bad choice. He got a nice submission win in front of his compatriots. It was a chance to prove that his career isn't over, and that he still is a force to be reckoned with on the ground.
It was a big night for "Big Nog," but he wasn't my biggest winner.
For my biggest winner, I've got to go with Jon Fitch, and here's why.
I know you don't love Fitch. Truthfully, I've never been a fan. In the past, he's humped his way to enough decision victories to inspire me to skip his fights, if it can be helped.
In addition to not being a very fun fighter to observe, he's made me (and many other fans) like him even less by running his mouth about how he's treated unfairly and should get more title shots.
To compound problems any further, in his last fight, he got KTFO by Johny Hendricks, which makes it hard to take him seriously as a title contender.
With all that out on the table, it's safe to say that the world wasn't rooting for him when he took on Brazilian phenom Erick Silva, who has really been the antithesis of everything Fitch stands for during his still short UFC career.
Silva is exciting. He finishes fights. He has a ton of potential.
Before Saturday night, many were ready to go ahead and check off another "W" in the win column for Silva, and they assumed he'd use his athleticism to catapult himself past Fitch and "into the mix."
But that's not what happened.
Fitch used his wrestling like he always does. But it was different in this fight. He looked inspired. He escaped a deep submission attempt. He slapped on several attempts of his own. He pushed the pace. He was exciting.
He looked good.
You don't want to admit it. Neither do I. And that's what makes this win so special. Fitch essentially flipped the bird to the whole world -- and I kinda dig it.
As usual, this category has stiff competition.
It wouldn't be crazy to call Bonnar the UFC 153 main card's biggest loser. He got demolished in the first round. He had been pestering Dana White for a marquee match up for at least a year, and what does he do when he finally gets it? He gets totally destroyed.
But, as mentioned previously, that was the way it was supposed to go down. Bonnar's a warrior, and it sucks that he got his ass handed to him by Silva, but let's be honest of the caliber of the fighter who pillaged him in front of a live audience.
I'm not going to disrespect Bonnar. You shouldn't either.
I'm also tempted to throw Dave Herman's name into the ring and make a case for his being the biggest loser. He talked a lot of noise about how dumb BJJ is. He puffed his chest out, poked somewhat of a sleeping dog in Nogueira, and then he got his arm taken home for a souvenir.
He also has now lost three in a row, and he's likely made himself a solid candidate for the next UFC fighter to be given his walking papers.
It wasn't a good night for "Pee Wee" by any stretch, but he's not my biggest loser.
I thought I'd switch things up and approach things from a different angle. And so my biggest loser from UFC 153 is Fernando Yamasaki.
I know. That comes out of left field, I'm sure. But, can I vent for a second?
I don't like the guy. I wanna get that out there to begin with, just for transparency's sake. I think he has an unearned smugness about him. He looks like the kind of guy who might go to parties and tell everyone that he "refs UFC," so that the girls will put out and the guys will give him free beer.
Maybe I'm misjudging him, but I don't like the cut of his jib.
Look aside, am I the only one who feels like they don't know where he came from? It just seems like one day, out of nowhere, I started seeing Mario Yamasaki's chubbier bizarro twin standing in the middle of the cage making shadow doves to the camera before MMA fights.
Which is fine. No one needed to run that decision by me. I'm a nobody. I get that. But here's the thing: He is terrible. Absolutely terrible.
He is quickly supplanting Josh Rosenthal as the king of poor stand ups. I just get the impression that when a fight he is officiating hits the ground, he either becomes bored or is confused by what he's watching, so he stands them up immediately.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not interested in seeing two guys lay on each other and make no effort to advance their position, but grappling and jiu jitsu are major component of the sport.
During UFC 153, there were several points where the "other Yamasaki brother" stood there, watched a fighter on top in dominant position clearly raining down shots, and, alarmingly, he stood them up.
Is the only MMA referee who suffers from this curse? Definitely not. Is he even the worst referee in the sport? Probably not. But last night, he plucked my last nerve, much in the same way that he plucks his fancy eyebrows.
Maybe I'm out of line. Wouldn't be the first time. Won't be the last.
Anyway, those are my nominees for biggest loser and lowliest loser from UFC 153. What about you?