Disclaimer: One of the staff here at Bloody Elbow (I think it was Josh Nason but I searched and couldn't find it.) posted this type of thing a while ago that I really enjoyed but haven't seen done for the last couple of events so I thought I would throw my own version out there. If I am stepping on anyone's toes just let me know.
UFC 153 in Brazil is just around the corner and I am here to let you know which fights you should watch to prepare yourself both mentally and physically for the big event this weekend. Whether you are in the BECW and need some last minute help with the hot bout or if you are just looking forward to the event and want some background on some of the lesser known fighters I got you covered here. So here are the 5 most important fights that will get you ready:
1) Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin - UFC 101. August 8, 2009.
Let's face it. Even if The Spider wasn't fighting this weekend there's still no excuse to not want to watch this fight. This was Anderson's second fight at LHW and some people thought Forrest would win. What unfolded before our eyes however, was something truly special. Anderson entered the matrix and dodged Forrest strikes as if he was in slow motion (which it would seem was kinda true). He countered with exceptional speed and precise precision. The reason that this fight is so relevant is the similaries in style of Forrest and Stephan Bonnar, Anderson's opponent this weekend. While they clearly do have some differences, both guys are big strong Light Heavyweights who love to brawl and make the fight dirty. Before the Anderson fight many people believed that Forrest's strongest assest was his 'heart' and that he would never give in and never stop coming forward. Anderson soon saw to that. In the pre-fight build up Stephan has been claiming that he can take everything Anderson and throw at him and still keep coming because he has never been stopped. We shall see.
Bam. What an introduction. Hardcore fans had known about Glover for quite a while and were desperate to get him into the UFC and fighting the best. Visa issues had stopped him before but now he was here and facing a tough challenge in the shape of Kyle Kingsbury. Kingsbu, a former TUF contestant, had established himself as a decent, middle of the pack Middle Weight in his 6 UFC fights going 4-2 in the Octagon including two Fight Of The Night performances. Some expected that Kingsbury would be able to expose Glover as another overseas flop who couldn't make the grade when placed against the top talent of the UFC. When the fight began however it was clear that was not the case. Glover tagged Kingsbury again and again within the first minute and eventually dropped him with an uppercut. Anyone hoping that Kingsbury could get the better of the ground game was quickly put out of their misery as Teixeira quickly gained full mount, dropped some elbows, then moved to side mount and choked Kingsbury, forcing him to tap. Since then three top 10 Lightheavyweights have turned down fights against Glover. No one wants to fight this guy because he is so dangerous but has little to no name recognition. He was supposed to be fighting Rampage this weekend but he got injured and so Fabio Maldonado stepped up. Maldonado is around the same kind of level that Kingsbury was at (I thought he should have won the decision against him) so this isn't necessarly a step up in competition. Where this fight should be interesting however is seeing if Glover is able to put away someone who has shown an incredible chin (even if he has terrible defence). If he is not able to do so it will also be interesting to see how his cardio holds up as he has went the distance just twice in his 20 fight career.
Hot bout time bitches. Uber Prospect Erick Silva takes on Jon Fitch this weekend in a fight that makes me excited in the pants region (Never though I'd say that about a Fitch fight). The last wrestler Silva faced was Brenneman and although Brenneman IS NOT JON FITCH he is probably the closest thing to him that Silva has faced so far. Fitch, like Charlie, will probably want nothing to do with Silva's stand up game so expect him to bring the pressure early and often just like Brenneman did. The problem Brenneman had however was when he did manage to get Silva down he couldn't hold him down and couldn't get any sort of offense going on the ground. When the fight was on the feet Silva was just too fast and too powerful and Charlie is just too hittable. Interestingly enough the finish in this fight came when Silva finished on top position from a scramble and transitioned to the back. First of all I don't think Fitch will end up in a bottom position on the ground. If he does, he knows he has had BJ Penn on his back for basically a whole round and managed to survive and is much better at reversing the position than Brenneman was. Secondly, Fitch has much better top control and should be able to do damage or at least stay busy enough from top position to wear Silva down a little. I am super excited to see how this fight turns out because of this variables.
4) Diego Brandao vs Darren Elkins - UFC 146. May 26, 2012
What a great fight this was particularly the first round. Brandao is a beast in the first 5 minutes but when it became clear Elkins could take what he was giving out, he started to pace himself and his output dropped considerably. Elkins was able to step it up and mix in takedowns with his strikes to keep Diego on his toes but off his feet. This weekend Brandao takes on Joey Gambino who is looking for his first win in the UFC after he was submitted by Steven Silar in his debut. Much like Elkins, Gambino is a powerful wrestler and will look to wear out Brandao and hopefully take the fight into the deep waters of the second and third round. It will be interesting to see if Brandao comes out quite as aggressive as he has in past fights and if Gambino will be able to handle it. Should be a good one.
5) Rony Jason vs Hugo Wolverine - TUF Brazil Episode 12.
Another great fight for you to watch. Personally I love Rony Jason. At times during the fight he can be really patient and mainly use a counter striking gameplan. Then all of a sudden he attacks with an enslaught of violence and aggression. In his semi-final fight on the show he faced another tough striker in Hugo Wolverine. Both guys had their moments in a back and forth war that won fight of the season (I think). Jason was able to take the decison because he landed the better strikes and had key knock downs and takedowns at important moments of the fight. On Saturday night Jason will make his second appearance in the UFC Octagon after he made his debut on the TUF Finale beating Pepey by Unanamious Decision. While his performance was criticsed by many, including Dana White, Jason showed he could execute a game plan and follow it perfectly. At UFC 153 he takes on Sam Sicilia who also appeared on TUF. He was a contestant on season 14 but lost a controversial decision in the first round. He bounced back to win his official debut when he knocked out submission specialist Christiano Marcello, who also fights on the card. The reason I thought this fight would be appropriate to look at was Sicilia is very much a striker as is Hugo. He relys heavily on his one shot knock out power and goes all out to get it. Again, it will be interesting to see if Jason decides to be more aggressive than he was in his debut after the criticism or if he chooses a counter-striking based game plan which could work well against the wild fighting style of Sicilia. I, for one, am excited to see.