Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
UFC 153 delivered some fine action and pleased the Brazilian crowd as the hometown fighters dominated. Anderson Silva put on yet another showcase performance, Nogueira gets another submission win and Jon Fitch was in an exciting fight.
The UFC put on a pretty solid and entertaining card despite the rash of injuries facing them. The night got off to a slow start as the undercard was underwhelming, but the action quickly picked up once on the main card. Anderson Silva looked positively amazing, but that isn't shocking. Stephan Bonnar was never a serious threat to Silva and the fight played out exactly how many expected. We should not read too much into this win for Silva, but it is a solid reminder of just how amazing he can be at times.
If anything this fight made me more open to a Jon Jones vs Anderson Silva fight. Silva just looks so relaxed and impressive at 205 that I can't help but want more, but I still think Jones is a horrible match for Silva. Jones is such a strong wrestler and once on top he causes serious damage that I don't see how Silva survives going to the ground. I think Silva would lose in a fashion that would cast a shadow on his entire career. While Silva is a boarder line Light Heavyweight, Jones is a very large, immensely strong man and is a borderline heavyweight. Silva maybe able to use his speed and accurate striking to fall the mighty Light Heavyweight Champion, but far more likely Jones is able to physically abuse Silva.
On to the rest of the perspective:
- Anderson Silva's highlight reel will live forever and he added to it last night, channeling Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope, but with an extra helping of disdain for Bonnar's punches. The knee that finished the fight caused Bonnar, a man who has never been finished in an MMA fight before, to cry out in pain and crumble into the fetal position. It was so hard it might have caused Bonnar's sternum and spine to touch for a second, it was positively brutal.
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looked horrifically out of shape. He was slow, he tired quickly but while he looked half-dead Dave Herman looked half-trained. Big Nog was able to land punches at will and was flowing around Herman on the ground, it really seem the only things Herman had going for him was wrestling and physical strength. Herman also tired very quickly, gassing himself out throwing a few kicks and he seemed determined to use a one-inch jab that Nog quickly determined he could walk right though. Herman is certainly talented but he has never taken MMA seriously. He needs to either find some dedication or be prepared to be fighting in Bellator or the World Series of Fighting. As for Nogueira I will reserve judgement as he was coming off an injury on short notice, but it was worrisome how physically depreciated he looked.
- So Fabio Maldonado can take a punch. A lot of them in fact, because Glover Teixeira hit him a lot and Fabio just wouldn't go away. The Rocky theme seemed very fitting for Fabio as he was out classed by a vastly more skilled fighter and seemed to be determined to just to see the end of the third round, but the doctor made the right call by stopping the fight.
- Jon Fitch vs Erick Silva was a really fun fight! It was back and forth, with Silva really showing off some diverse skills and Fitch reminding everyone that he is a quality fighter. Also the long standing legend that Jon Fitch is un-choke-able appeared to be true as Silva put everything he had into a choke attempt in the second round and Fitch shrugged it off. Fitch then took command of the fight in the 3rd round, when Silva was clearly out of gas. Shockingly, Fitch was not awarded a 10-8 on any scorecard for that final round, which I though he pretty clearly deserved.
- For Erick Silva this is a set back, but it is most definitely a loss from which he can recover. Jon Fitch was a huge jump in competition and while Silva faded badly, he did demonstrate that he belonged in the cage with Fitch. If Silva is able to navigate this defeat mentally he could be back in the title picture in another two or three fights.
- I really think that Phil Davis' nickname should be "Weight-Watchers" because he is sending more men down to Middleweight than anyone else at Light Heavyweight. First it was Brian Stann, then it was Tim Boetsch and now it seems very likely Wagner Prado will be the next man to tap out to Davis and then drop to 185 lbs. Davis is just on a different level than Prado, people read far too into the first 90 seconds of their first fight and what we saw tonight was a true comparison of their skill levels.
- Demian Maia is using some form of dark magic, I'm convinced of it. First he is able to cause Dong Hyun Kim's back to spasm by just looking at him from across the Octagon and then he neck cranks Rick Story to the point that blood pours out of his mouth and nose. That is some voodoo stuff right there. Yes, I know the blood was likely from a punch earlier in the fight and Story just exhaled hard, but it was a horrific image when combined with Maia cranking on his neck. Actually speaking of the fight, I've said before that I love Maia at Welterweight. He is fighting guys his own size finally and they cannot simply overpower him when grappling. Maia's takedowns are very underrated and I think he is a legit threat to just about any Welterweight with the possible exception of Georges St Pierre.
- The undercard was underwhelming, as I said before. There were moments of action, but the prelims were full of sloppy fighting all around. It was interesting on the youtube stream of the first two fights being without commentary and just listening to the crowd. It was an interesting experience and I actually quite enjoyed it.