Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to kick off its UFC 153: "Silva vs. Bonnar" pay-per-view (PPV) event tomorrow night from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, featuring a light heavyweight "fun fight" pitting Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar.
Probably won't be much fun for the loser.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card bouts on fight night (Sat., Oct. 13, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view (PPV). The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6:45 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" match-ups on Facebook and FX.
Elsewhere on the card, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira continues to audition for the upcoming season of the Walking Dead against Dave Herman, while Glover Teixeira stakes his claim to the 205-pound "mix" opposite Fabio Maldonado.
In addition, Jon Fitch and Phil Davis will attempt to prove they're still relevant in their respective weight classes despite recent high-profile losses when they battle hometown heroes Erick Silva and Wagner Prado.
Here's what to expect.
205 lbs.: Anderson Silva (32-4) vs. Stephan Bonnar (15-7)
Nostradumbass predicts: To quote Cypress Hill: You fuckin' wit da wrong [light heavyweight] dis time.
I know you're probably thinking I'm picking Stephan Bonnar because I'm a desperate blogger who needs to keep his career afloat on a raft of negative comments, and while that may be true, I think you can build a case for "The American Psycho" without being grumpy and living under a bridge.
Just because you took a risk and got away with it, doesn't mean it was a good idea.
Anderson Silva has made two trips up to the 205-pound division. His first opponent, James Irvin, was the same height, but had a two-inch reach disadvantage. His second, Forrest Griffin, was a much larger foe, but has a jaw so brittle it's on loan to the Kremlin Armory to be displayed alongside its Faberge Eggs.
And this fight is only three rounds (hooray for short notice!)
That's bad news for "The Spider," who historically needs a few minutes to warm up and get his timing. Is it really unreasonable to think the larger and stronger Bonnar can muscle his foe to the fence and mug him for two rounds? Even if he gets lit up in the third, all "The American Psycho" needs is two.
He's got the chin to do it.
Jon Jones hit Bonnar in the head with a spinning elbow, suplexed and rag-dolled him for three rounds and couldn't even slow him down. Unless the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) runner-up adopts the world's dumbest gameplan and turns this into a boxing match, I really don't see him getting finished.
And let's not forget about the takedown.
Chael Sonnen took "The Spider" down at will in both fights. Dan Henderson had no trouble taking him down, either. Hell, even an emaciated Travis Lutter grounded him (spare me the bum knee defense, he got taken down). I know the common denominator is that all three of those fighters got finished, but there is a tremendous difference (literally) in having a gremlin like "Hendo" mounting you and getting smothered by a Tyrannosaur like Bonnar.
And remember, this is the same guy who dropped the undefeated Dave Bautista.
To win, Bonnar needs to be a bulldozer. Forget about finding his range and setting up shots and all that other nonsense. I'm talking bull in a China shop. Take away the Brazilian's control and you take away his offense. The Trash Talking Kid is too strong to be roughed up in the Thai Plum, so if he can drive him to the fence and then muscle him to the floor -- without getting cut open and losing via cut -- he can have a historic upset in hostile territory.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Prediction: Bonnar def. Silva via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Dave Herman (21-4) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-7-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: The days of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira doing superhuman things in the face of adversity, I'm afraid, are over. But I don't think that comes as a surprise to most MMA fans. It's a shame too, because "Minotauro" still has pretty good hands.
Just ask Brendan Schaub and Frank Mir.
I understand the Mir fight was a loss of epic proportions, but before he made the fatal error of chasing his dazed foe to the ground, he was lighting him up on the feet, the same way he did to "The Hybrid" the last time he was in Rio. What worries me is how brittle he's become after years of abuse.
Good thing he's fighting Dave Herman.
I can't think of anyone, off the top of my head, who's looked worse in their first three fights inside the Octagon. His (cough) "win" over Jon Olav Einemo was so ugly, even Rocky Dennis was like "Damn, that was ugly." He followed that up by getting extradited from "Big Country" and razed by "Skyscraper" Struve.
In short, he's had a banner year as a ZUFFA heavyweight.
He's done his share of can crushing overseas and he's certainly athletic, but Herman's been nothing short of putrid since joining the UFC. Even in "Big Nog's" deteriorated state, I still don't see how Mr. "Jiu-Jitsu Doesn't Work" leaves Brazil with a win.
Prediction: Nogueira def. Herman via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Fabio Maldonado (18-5) vs. Glover Teixeira (18-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: If UFC color commentator Joe Rogan didn't get so excited every time Fabio Maldonado landed a body punch, I'm not sure we'd have much to talk about here. He's certainly got good boxing, but when you drop back-to-back fights to Kyle Kingsbury and Igor Pokrajac, perhaps it's time to admit it's not enough?
And despite his success, Glover Teixeira isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, either.
I know we're in a hurry to match him up against Jon Jones -- just because we don't have too many options in the 205-pound weight class -- but can he at least get a few wins in the UFC first? He looked great against "Kingsbu," but I'm not joking when I say that may be his biggest win to date.
Beating the brakes off Ricco Rodriguez and Marvin Eastman, who were relevant around the same time Dana White had hair, does not get you "in the mix."
But I digress.
It wouldn't surprise me to see Maldonado get the better of the striking exchanges, but I think sooner or later Teixeira gets it to the floor. Flabby-o is likely to stay afloat in the first two rounds, but I think he loses enough steam in the final frame to succumb to an arm-triangle choke.
Prediction: Teixeira def. Maldonado via submission
170 lbs.: Jon Fitch (23-4-1) vs. Erick Silva (14-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: I know everybody is swinging from Erick Silva's Brazilian yam-bag, but I'm not climbing aboard just yet. I think because the 170-pound division is so desperate for new blood, we start to anoint every promising prospect as the next big thing.
Is Silva a good fighter?
He sure looks it. Too bad his record is padded with bums. He came into the UFC with 12 wins, but only four of those opponents had winning records. True, he smashed Carlo Prater and choked out Charlie Brenneman, but both of those guys have since been released from the promotion because they can't win fights.
I'm not saying Silva won't be great, I'm just saying "slow down."
Fitch should emerge the winner. I know the prevailing wisdom among fight fans is when you're unpopular, the second you get knocked out, you're a loser and a has-been, but keep in mind, Fitch is 13-2-1 inside the Octagon and fought for the division title.
He didn't respect the hands of Johny Hendricks and paid for it.
I still think he's just as talented and while he's been talking about flashing a new style, I believe he goes back to his roots on fight night. That's bad news for the Brazilian. Fitch is a huge welterweight and "Indio" hasn't yet faced a wrestler of his caliber.
And time is not on his side, because Fitch only needs to grind out two ugly rounds to win the fight.
Prediction: Fitch def. Silva via unanimous decision
205 lbs.: Phil Davis (9-1) vs. Wagner Prado (8-0)
Nostradumbass predicts: So the sources I don't have in Brazil tell me this Wagner Prado guy is supposed to be a pretty big deal. Anyone who looks like Wario shouldn't be taken lightly and he's got eight wins with seven finishes to back it up.
So why am I not impressed?
Probably because only two of his previous opponents have winning records, which means he's been recycling cans in small regional shows (sound familiar?). All those "scouting reports" are nothing more than his team talking him up, which is fine, it's what your team is supposed to do.
But he's jumping into the deep end.
I might be more forgiving if he was fighting a fellow rookie, but Phil Davis holds wins over top-shelf competition like Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. I find this to be unusual matchmaking and I can't help but wonder what "Mr. Wonderful" did to piss off Joe Silva.
Davis should have this one locked up. I know his striking leaves a lot to be desired, but when you can wrestle like he does, it doesn't really matter. Barring any unfortunate eye pokes, like the one that prematurely ended their first go-round, I expect a dominant three round win for the former Nittany Lion.
Prediction: Davis def. Prado via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Demian Maia (16-4) vs. Rick Story (14-5)
Nostradumbass predicts: Remember when Rick Story was the toast of the town? Here was a guy who claimed victory over Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves. Then it all came crashing down when Charlie Brenneman out-wrestled him in Pittsburgh.
A few months later and Martin Kampmann booted him from "the mix" for good.
Story was able to get back on his horse against Brock Jardine last June, but I'm not sure he's going to be the contender we thought he was. Ordinarily I'd have Demian Maia running through him, but I think his wrestling is good enough to keep him out of the red zone.
And Maia hasn't submitted anyone in over three years across a span of nine fights.
I'm not concerned about the Brazilian's weight cut, as he already proved he can make it to 170 pounds against Dong Hyun Kim. But I wouldn't be surprised to see the wrestling and jiu-jitsu cancel each other out, leaving us with three rounds of average (at best) stand up.
I'll take Maia.
He's faced the tougher opponents -- and faced them in a heavier weight class -- leading me to believe if he can avoid the "Horror" of Story's power punches, he should be able to land more (and land more often) en route to a close nod from the judges.
Besides, when was the last time either of these guys had a finish?
Prediction: Maia def. Story via split decision
That's a wrap, folks.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC 153 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Silva vs. Bonnar."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.