"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the ... Psycho?
Despite losing both its original main and co-main events, UFC 153 will hit the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro this Saturday night (Oct. 13, 2012) with a Light Heavyweight slugfest at the helm. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will make his first visit to the division since his one-sided demolition of Forrest Griffin more than three years ago, taking on the resurgent Stephan Bonnar in what Dana White promises to be a "fun" affair.
In addition, heavyweight legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will make his return to the cage, taking on American slugger Dave Herman, while prospects Glover Teixeira and Erick Silva look to take their next steps toward contendership at the expense of Fabio Maldonado and Jon Fitch, respectively.
But before all that, we've got a nice set of "Prelims" under card matches loaded with Brazilian talent. Check out part one of our UFC on 153 "Prelims" breakdown, featuring the first three bouts of the fight card below:
170 lbs.: Sergio Moraes vs. Renee Forte
Owning one of the more impressive grappling resumes in the division, Sergio Moraes (6-2) demonstrated his Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil," locking up an inverted heel hook on Thiago Relas to get into the house and a rear-naked choke on fellow black belt Delson Heleno to reach the semifinals. While a hellacious flying knee from Daniel Sarafian put "Serginho" down for the count, an injury to the former allowed him to take his place against teammate Cezar "Mutante" in the finals, where he lost a spirited decision.
Moraes has defeated Kron Gracie in grappling and owns five wins in mixed martial arts (MMA) via submission.
Team Nogueira’s Renee Forte (7-1) never really got off the ground during his run on the show, winning an uneventful decision to get in the house before getting completely outclassed by Team Vitor standout Sarafian in the quarterfinals. Forte, Team Wanderlei’s third pick, has not fought officially since May of last year, when he scored a third-round technical knockout of Renan Santos.
Forte has finished four opponents, split evenly between knockouts and submissions.
Honestly, this is just a mismatch. "Serginho" doesn’t have the striking to challenge the best of the division, but Forte --an inferior grappling specialist -- is about the best opponent he could ask for. Forte doesn’t have the wrestling to stay off his back, the grappling to threaten from his back, or the striking to hurt Moraes before the takedown.
Do I really need to say anything else? It’s an ADCC veteran against someone whose only area of expertise is the ground. Takedown, back take, rear-naked choke, done.
Prediction: Moraes by first-round submission
185 lbs.: Luiz Cane vs. Chris Camozzi
It seems like just yesterday that Luiz Cane (12-4) was one of the premiere prospects in the 205-pound division, finishing Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou with strikes and decisioning World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion Steve Cantwell. Things took a turn for the unpleasant, however, when "Banha" was booked to welcome Pride FC veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to the Octagon, succumbing to Minotoro’s finely-honed boxing in the first round. Since then, he has been finished twice more in three fights, most recently falling to Stanislav Nedkov after a pair of heavy counters left him trying and failing to beat the cage into submission.
He has not fought since that loss, which took place in Aug. 2011, and will make his 185-pound debut in this bout.
A veteran of the talent-rich TUF 11, Chris Camozzi (17-5) was forced off the show just after earning his way onto it because of a broken jaw. Unfazed, he went on to defeat Team Ortiz’s James Hammortree on the Finale and Korean bruiser Dongi Yang at UFC 121. While a submission loss to Kyle Noke resulted in his expulsion from the organization, he earned his way back onto the big show with a win over Joey Villasenor and has gone 2-1 since, stopping Nick Catone on a cut his last time out.
I don’t like picking guys making desperation cuts, I don’t like picking guys with glass jaws, I don’t like picking guys who haven’t fought in a year, and I REALLY don’t like picking guys who fulfill all three criteria while being 1-3 in their last four, but dammit, my hands are tied here. I just don’t see what Camozzi does to win this fight -- the three guys who knocked out Cane at least have reputable power and some outstanding attribute, but I just can’t figure out what, if anything, Camozzi is good at. Cane, chin notwithstanding, is the better striker of the two and probably also superior on the ground, meaning Camozzi is more-or-less S.O.L unless he lands a big shot.
Not happening, at least not before Cane lands one bigger and better. "Banha" avoids the pink slip with an early finish.
Prediction: Cane by first-round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Cristiano Marcello vs. Reza Madadi
Former Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach of the legendary Chute Boxe squad, Cristiano Marcello (12-4) impressed mightily in the elimination round of TUF: "Live," manhandling Eddie Bravo black belt Jared Carlsten en route to a first-round rear-naked choke. Coach Urijah Faber was sufficiently wowed to select him first overall, but despite his prowess on the mat, he was steadily overwhelmed by Justin Lawrence’s striking attack.
A knockout loss to Sam Sicilia on the Finale followed, dropping Marcello’s record to 6-2 in his last eight.
Swedish-based wrestling specialist Reza Madadi (12-2) showcased his resilience and tenacity in his UFC debut, surviving the high-octane striking attack of Yoislandy Izquierdo to drag him to the mat and pick up a second-round guillotine submission. "Mad Dog," who has not lost since 2008, beat UFC veterans Junie Browning, Carlo Prater and Rich Clementi in sequence to earn himself a shot on the big stage.
Seven of his 12 wins have come via tap, nap or snap, though he sadly won’t be bringing his stylish Iranian-flag-colored tights into the Octagon.
I’m a Pride FC fanboy and lover of all things Chute Boxe, but Marcello isn’t UFC-caliber. As lethal as he is on the ground, I’m hard-pressed to think of someone in the division sufficiently incompetent in the wrestling department to fall victim to it. Madadi, conversely, has an excellent wrestling game and, while not the best striker, is certainly more than capable of handling Marcello in the stand up.
The only way I see Marcello winning this fight is if Madadi decides to just throw caution to the wind and dick around in his guard all night, and even then, "Mad Dog" has some slick grappling of his own. More likely, Madadi just wallops him standing, sprawls to perfection, and maybe mixes in one or two takedowns of his own just to keep him on his toes for 15 unpleasant minutes.
Prediction: Madadi by unanimous decision
Stop by tomorrow for a look at the remaining preliminary bouts, which include a pair of TUF'ers and the biggest lightweight scrap you’re likely to find.
See you then, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC 153: "Silva vs. Bonnar," beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 6:45 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the evening this upcoming Saturday, starting promptly at 10 p.m. ET.