Though Wagner Prado and Fabio Maldonado were both bested Saturday night (Oct. 13, 2012) in Brazil at UFC 153: "Silva vs. Bonnar," the duo's aggressive styles would be a wonderful match for any UFC card. Both ran into better grapplers, where superior pedigree simply overwhelmed their ability to fight their preffered style. In Prado's case, the smothering wrestling and, ultimately, a brilliant submission by Phil Davis spelled the end; for Maldonado, Glover Teixeira's onslaught of punches from top position prompted a doctor's stoppage after two of the most exciting one-sided rounds you'll ever see. Maldonado put on a display of chin and heart that will leave an indelible memory on those who witnessed it.
The UFC is all about matchmaking, whether it's in building preferred prospects into contenders, or milking the most worth out of fighters that aren't likely to rise to that level, but will produce fan-friendly results.
Prado and Maldonado both fit that definition.
It was fitting that after the bouts, I tuned to HBO Boxing After Dark, where Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado put on a seven-round slugfest that reminded me of how insanely entertaining an extended, all-out brawl is between two guys that refuse to back down. As Rios and Alvarado stood chest to chest and traded punches, taking turns smashing one another point-blank, it occurred to me that Prado-Maldonado would likely be on that level. It's also a nice way to get at least one of these guys a highlight-reel victory, because while they aren't quite top-20 light heavyweight material, it'd be shame to see both of them get wrestle-smashed in their next outings.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst