UFC 153 featured the best mixed martial arts (MMA) ever, Anderson Silva, packing on 20 pounds to fight The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) O.G., Stephan Bonnar, in a 205-pound showdown booked in haste to "save" the pay-per-view (PPV) event because Jose Aldo can't safely operate a motorcycle.
Despite Bonnar's size advantage, it was a clear mismatch from the moment it was announced. "The American Psycho" is a tough, big guy, but he really had no business being locked inside a cage with "The Spider." And after toying with Bonnar -- deliberately standing in the corner of the cage and inviting Bonnar to punch him in the face -- Silva flipped the switch and transitioned into Kill Mode.
Silva exploded of the fence, spun and then nailed Bonnar with a flying knee to the liver. Bonnar doubled-over instantly, collapsed and covered up to protect himself from the ensuing assault.
It was an amazing performance. Not because he finished the un-finishable Bonnar, but the way in which he toyed with a highly-trained grown man -- a 6'4," 225-pound man -- and then at the drop of a dime, flipped the script and beat his ass.
I've never seen anything like it. And I'm not so sure we will again anytime soon. Anderson Silva is special.
Dave Herman sauntered into the Octagon against an out-of-shape Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who less than one year ago had his humerus snapped in half by Frank Mir and then surgically repaired with Titanium plates and screws. "Big Nog" probably probably isn't even 80 percent healthy, but he -- like Silva -- answered the UFC's call to step up in a time of need.
"Pee Wee" most likely just had to leverage his athleticism, strength and wrestling to keep this match close, pick his shots and -- at all costs -- avoid the submission game of the dangerous Brazilian. But, Herman completely disrespected the notion that he could be submitted, saying that jiu-jitsu "didn't work" on him in the build up to the bout.
That was stupid.
And he looked even more stupid -- if that's possible -- when he was forced to tap to a second round armbar.
Herman proved once again that his hubris and attempt at humor are his own worse enemies. He's now dropped three straight fights, which is likely a good reason for the promotion to let him go -- and if so -- give him the wake up call that he desperately deserves.
Let's be clear: Teixeira torched Maldonado, beating him senseless from pillar to post. He never should have been in there with a top-tier opponent if he can't even best mid-level competition. Nonetheless, when Quinton Jackson bowed out with an injury, Maldonado accepted a fight that most top-tier guys like Rashad Evans refused.
Teixeira demonstrated exactly the reason he is considered dangerous, connecting with powerful punches and savage elbows for what seemed to be an eternity, but in reality was 10 very long, and painful, minutes.
Somehow, someway, Maldonado survived, barely, staggering across the cage and mustering tepid resistance. He did connect with a Hail Mary hook while in dire straits that wobbled Teixeira, but he shook off the cobwebs and continued his beating.
By the end of round two, the ringside physician had seen enough and waived off the fight. Maldonado protested, but it was the right call -- someone had to save himself from himself. It was a performance that Teixeira accurately described as "not human," which will go down as one of the gutsiest displays in recent memory.
Good luck, Light Heavyweights. That Teixeira can lay down a beating.
Jon Fitch, who oddly has not won a fight in more than two years, vowed to enter the Octagon against Erick Silva -- a rising, promising 170-pound prospect -- a different fighter. He was out to turn in an exciting, "Fight of the Night"-type performance and shut up all the critics who feel he is MMA's cure for insomnia.
Believe it or not, Fitch delivered.
It wasn't as if he channeled Muhammad Ali, but the bout was back-and-forth, up-and-down for the better part of two rounds. Silva, who came out cocky and seemingly confident that he could finish the fight standing quick, actually almost became the first man to submit Fitch in the Octagon in the second stanza, but the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout proved once again that his opponents have better odds of choking out livestock.
Fitch survived and then ended up nearly finishing "Indio" as the round expired with an armbar.
It wasn't to be, and the pair went to a third and final round, which Fitch absolutely dominated from bell-to-bell with his grueling wrestling and unforgiving ground-and-pound. Silva, who clearly has not been pushed to such cardiovascular limits, was for all intents and purposes, useless.
Fitch battered him relentlessly as if he were a practice dummy. In fact, it could have very well been stopped in the final minute of the fight, but the in-ring referee let it continue until its 15-minute conclusion.
That's a huge victory for someone who for years was widely regarded as the number two-ranked fighter in the world. Fitch might just be able to assume that position in the near future if he continues to fight like that ... and he might even be able to add some fans in the process.
Phil Davis and Wagner Prado rolled it back after their first encounter just a few months ago at UFC on FOX 4 ended with the dreaded "No Contest" when the Brazilian went down, and couldn't get back up, because of an accidental eye poke.
Prado had the benefit of vision last night, but he just couldn't see a crafty submission attempt that "Mr. Wonderful" locked in midway through the second round. Indeed, Davis -- who used his top-shelf wrestling to dominate the opening frame -- got the fight south and then went to work.
It was surprising to see his proficiency on the ground -- his bag of tricks seemed aplenty. I'm not really sure what a win over Prado does for Davis in the near term, but even bigger than the "W" was his noticeable improvements in his overall game.
Davis appears to be putting it all together, which -- as in the case of Teixeira -- is bad news for the rest of the division.
It's been nearly four years since Brazilian jiu-jitsu stud Demian Maia notched a submission win, but he wasted no time last night to end the drought at the expense of Rick Story. Maia closed the distance in opening seconds of the Welterweight bout and didn't give "The Horror" any breathing room for the next two minutes.
In fact, Maia wasn't even letting him breath thanks to a rear naked choke that he transitioned into a neck crank, which literally forced a bloody snot rocket to eject from Story's nose, as well as a tapout.
It was great to see Maia return to his jiu-jitsu roots after seemingly losing his way the last few years. His stand up is always improving, but it's his deadly grappling skills that truly make him a serious threat to anyone in the 170-pound division.
Hell, make that any division.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC 153: "Silva vs. Bonnar" in the comments section below.
Is Georges St. Pierre really a fair fight for Silva? Is Nogueira capable of being considered "elite" once again? Is Teixeira the real deal? Can Fitch climb back up the contender ladder? Is Maia finally near the top of said ladder?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC 153 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Silva vs. Bonnar" event right here. And for a detailed recap of the UFC 153 "Prelims" bouts on Facebook/FX click here.