Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
A look at some of the winners and losers from last night's excellent UFC 153 card in Brazil.
Another night of fights are in the books, and it's pretty easy to be positive about UFC 153 considering it was one of the best fight cards of the year. Almost every single fight delivered, and I definitely feel like I got my money's worth from the card. Sure, I would have rather seen Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar in the main event, but getting to see Anderson Silva destroy someone isn't so bad either. On top of that, four of the other five main card fights were finished before the final bell, and the only one that wasn't was the fight of the night. Overall, I'm a happy camper. Let's get onto the winners and losers from last night's card.
Anderson Silva: Much was made of the size difference between him and Bonnar, but it was more hype than reality. Silva did whatever he wanted in there, and clowned on a pretty good fighter in the process. The fight means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it was certainly entertaining and I'm sure Silva took home a huge paycheck for "saving the event", so props to him.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Apparently jiu jitsu does work. Nog looked out of shape and was a bit slow in the cage, but he still battered Herman and made the crowd (and Anderson Silva) very happy by making him tap. Nogueira will always be one of my favorites, and I love seeing him pick up his first submission win since he choked out Tim Sylvia way back in 2008 to claim the interim UFC heavyweight title. It's another fight that doesn't really mean anything in the bigger picture of Big Nog's career, but it was fun nonetheless.
Glover Teixeira: Wow, did he ever put a hurting on Maldonado. From the opening bell until the fight was stopped after two rounds, Teixeira was completely relentless and just tore him apart. The fight should have been stopped multiple times and I feel that the referee was completely incompetent by letting it continue, but that's not Glover's fault. He was just doing what he had to do, and that was whooping some ass. All those top-flight UFC light heavyweights that turned down the fight with Glover are probably thanking their lucky stars right about now.
Demian Maia: Aww yeah. That's the Demian Maia everyone became enamored with back in 2007-09. He completely dominated Story, and the visual of the blood leaking out of Story's nose as Maia squeezed on the neck crank was just plain eerie. Maia can be an absolute force at welterweight if he continues to fight like that, and it doesn't hurt that it's just amazing to watch as well. I can't wait to see him fight again.
Jon Fitch: His bout with Silva was awesome. Simply awesome. Instead of playing it safe, Fitch was all over Silva from the opening bell, threatening with submissions and taking chances. Even though it hurt him a couple of times and anyone else short of Ben Henderson would have tapped out to that second round choke, Fitch delivered last night in the best way possible. Only a finish would have been better, and he could very well have gotten it from a different referee late in the bout. If Fitch continues to fight like that, it'll be very hard for people to hate on him.
Stephan Bonnar: No one expected him to win anyway, but going out like that had to hurt (literally and figuratively). Getting finished for the first time by a devastating knee to the body is probably not what he (or anyone else) envisioned, but that's how it went down. Will he retire now? A lot of fighters wouldn't like going out like that. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he came back for one more fight, just because. There's no shame in losing to the best fighter in the world though, and I hope he can just be happy with that and hang em' up.
Fabio Maldonado:The only thing he didn't lose last night was consciousness, and no one can quite figure out how that was possible. It's obvious that the dude has an absolute ton of heart, and to hurt Teixeira at the end of the first while he was out on his feet was flat out amazing. But the beating he took is going to take years off his life and even though he wanted to continue like a true warrior would, it was quite obvious that he had been through enough. Dana White said he won't be cut, which is cool because he deserves another chance.
Dave Herman: I don't know what this guy is thinking sometimes. Why just stick your hand in Nogueira's face forever and not really do anything else? Going after Nog's injured arm made sense, and he did throw a few kicks, but he didn't seem like he had any idea what to do otherwise. He has now lost three in a row in the organization, and could be in danger of losing his job. He's lucky that he's got charisma, because it might be the only thing keeping him employed at the moment.
Erick Silva: Chalk this up to a learning experience for the prospect. Fitch might have been a little too much too soon for Silva, and some of his flaws were exposed in the bout. He put up a hell of a fight against a top guy though, and came within a hair of submitting him. He will continue to improve and will undoubtedly be a top guy in the division for years to come.
The referees at UFC 153: I seriously hope some of these guys never ref another fight in the UFC. Fernando Yamasaki's uber-quick standups were atrocious and he generally just doesn't know what the hell he's doing. There were many instances of cage grabbing that went without points being taken. And worst of all, Mario Yamasaki let the Teixeira/Maldonado fight go on way too long, and basically just dumped his responsibilities on the ringside doctor instead of taking charge and stopping the fight himself. I know referees take a lot of heat and their job is hard, but there's no excuse for some of the things that went down last night. None.