Date: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Location: HSBC Arena Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
by Evergreen, UFC Handicapper, Predictem.com
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Anderson Silva is known throughout the MMA world as a devastating striker and one of the most dynamic champions in UFC history but he should add PPV savior to his resume.With UFC 153 teetering on irrelevance after injuries forced Jose Aldo and Rampage Jackson to pull out, Dana White turned to Brazils favorite fighting son to save the card set to take place at the HSBC Center in Rio.Silva did not let White or fight fans down and will now face Stephan Bonnar in a match that will co-headline the pay-per-view.Silva will come up the twenty pounds to light heavyweight and face his biggest opponent in years although the Spider is still considered a very heavy at the online MMA sportsbooks with current odds in the -1200 to -1400 range.The overall card is still strong despite the shuffling caused by injuries and features several Brazilian fighters who will no doubt look to impress in front of their countrymen.Here are the previews and picks for the main card at UFC 153.
Anderson Silva (30-4) v. Stephan Bonnar (17-7)
Im sure that most UFC fans would like to see someone legitimately challenge Silva for the middleweight title before the 37 year old retires and while that isnt the case this time out, Bonnar provides some juice to this bout as The American Psycho is among the most well liked fighters in recent UFC history.Bonnar, listed as a +750 underdog, has a ton of heart and has shown an ability to absorb a ton of punishment at times in both his wins and losses.Bonnar speculated that he may retire if he could not get a premier match and that is exactly what the 35 year old will get in Anderson Silva and he will need that ring moxie to survive this one.Bonnar will have a strength advantage over Silva but is outclassed with the rest of the tangibles and it seems too far-fetched that Stephan could pull an upset on heart alone.Still, Bonnar has been in there with Jon Jones, Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin so he isnt over his head from an experience standpoint, but he is at a heavy skill disadvantage and that will ultimately end his night with a tally in the loss column.There really isnt any way to cut this that doesnt have Silva either picking Bonnar apart for the entire fight or ending with a KO but since there is no real value to Silvas -1400 price, you could throw some modest action at Bonnar just too root for a crazy result.Im sure there will be a few guys predicting that Bonnar can clinch Silva and work him the way Chael Sonnen did during his success in two fights but this one looks like a second round KO for the Spider all the way.
UFC 153 Pick: Silva
Erick Silva (14-2) v. Jon Fitch (23-4-1)
Erick Silva has literally made of career of fighting in Brazil as Indio has had just one bout outside of his home country in sixteen pro fights.This will be the Brazilians fourth fight in the UFC and he looks to be a strong up and comer in the welterweight division.Silva has never been stopped in his career, losing once by decision and once by disqualification when it was deemed he used strikes to the back of the head in defeating Carlo Prater.Fitch, ranked 5thamong welterweights by Sherdog isnt likely to stop Silva either as 13 of his 23 wins have come by decision.Fitch is returning from shoulder and knee injuries as well as 12 second knockout at the hands of Johny Hendricks and needs to do something to impress Dana White who is not a fan of Fitchs grind to win style.UFC fans arent particularly passionate about Fitch in part because he doesnt often finish his opponents but Jon does have a ton of experience (14-2-1) in the Octagon and is listed at even money even though he will be fighting on hostile ground.Silva, a -130 favorite, should push the fight pace and will look to get Fitch to the ground and into trouble.Erick has finished eight of his opponents by submission and should avoid getting into a striking war with Fitch who is an accomplished kickboxer.Silva gets a big lift as he fights in front of the home fans but Fitch is likely fighting to stay relevant not only in his division but in MMA altogether and should be fighting with some desperation.I think this is a 50-50 fight but I like Fitch to come out and win the striking battle while keeping away from Silva.If Jon can soften Indio and keep him defensive, he should be able to shoot if he wants to get in some ground game as well.I like the even money value for Fitch and see a three round decision in his favor.
UFC 153 Prediction: Fitch.
Demian Maia (16-4) v. Rick Story (14-5)
This fight has both the potential to be the best or worst of the night depending on how the pace unfolds between fighters that can control the action but often see their fights go to the judges.Maia, a -135 favorite, will be making just his second appearance at welterweight and will be fighting in front of his home fans for the first time since 2006.Maia dropped down successfully and gained a TKO win against Dong Hyun Kim and now looks to climb the division ladder against The Horror who would add a big notch in his belt with a win over a big name on foreign soil.Story, a +105 underdog, is a solid overall fighter with good striking and good wrestling skills but Rick has been able to stop just one opponent in his last eight fights.Story himself has never been stopped with five decision losses on his record and that essentially sets up a match with the similarly styled Maia that could see both fighters somewhat unwilling to fully engage.Both fighters prefer breaking down an opponent on the feet and then taking the action to the mat for a submission or at least to score the round in their favor.Both have also seen longish periods of inactivity during rounds where their opponents did not let them score with counterstrikes.So, it remains to be seen who can push the pace without getting caught but it would seem that Story has more to gain by coming out fast and trying to get the aggression points from the judges.Maia has been limited by good strikers in the past but his own standup offense has improved lately, making his jiu-jitsu game that much more fearsome as he can look to finish weakened opponents more easily.Both fighters have a long way to go to make noise in this division but it is Maia that has more to lose in front of his countrymen.I think Story scores early and gets the first round but Maia gets his bearings and gets Story to the ground en route to a decision victory.
UFC 153 Pick: Maia.
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