Tuesday, 16 October 2012

UFC 153 Silva vs Bonnar on ESPN - TV Review

So here’s the story. While UFC 153 was being shown live on ESPN my part of merry old England was hit by an unexpected thunder storm. It was unexpected because such things don’t normally happen at this time of year.

For a few brief seconds we were hit by a power cut, which meant that my DVD recorder and satellite TV box stopped working. It also meant that I’d lost the preliminary fights and that I’d have to record the repeat showing the following night.

So here, a little bit later than planned, is my look (sans prelims) at UFC 153.

The show began with welterweight action as Demian Maia took on Rick Story.

Story began the fight by swinging for the fences, but within seconds Maia took the fight to the ground. Story managed to get back to his feet a couple of times but Maia managed to keep a hold of him as he powered him back down to the mat.

Maia simply overwhelmed him, and it wasn’t long before he took Story’s back and cranked his man’s neck for the very impressive submission win.

With the Phil Davis/Wagner Prado fight cut from the repeat more welterweight action followed as Jon Fitch went up against Erick Silva.

Now this was a fight. For three rounds these two put on a great contest in what proved to be a hard test for the young Brazilian.

Fitch basically took Silva to school. There wasn’t much in the way of stand up fighting but when they went to the ground Fitch dominated in all three rounds. From his takedowns through to his submissions and ground and pound it was a joy to watch.

Silva had his moments, particularly in the second round when he took Fitch’s back and went for a rear naked choke. But the man with the best submission escape record in UFC history added to his number and moments later he went for a submission of his own, although Silva managed to spin out of the armbar attempt.

Fitch cemented his domination in the third round with his brutal ground and pound. There were times when it looked like the referee would stop the action, but Silva managed to survive.

So after three great rounds it went down to the judges as all three scored in favour of Fitch.

Then it was up to light heavyweight as Glover Teixeira faced Fabio Maldonado.

This was one of those fights that was brutal and compelling at the same time.

Teixeira put on a dominating display for the majority of the first round. A left hook sent Maldonado crashing, and it wasn’t long before Teixeira went to work with the ground and pound.

Teixeira’s attack was brutal. It looked like he wanted to obliterate his opponent before he went for an arm triangle.

Then, to the surprise of just about everyone, Maldonado managed to get back to his feet, and moments later, as he staggered around the cage with the fence basically holding him up he connected with a couple of left hooks that rocked his man.

The second round was pretty much the same, although not as brutal. Teixeira put in some more stellar work on the ground as Maldonado began to look like Rocky Balboa after his first fight with Apollo Creed.

The referee called for a time out as the round entered it’s last minute so the doctor could check Maldonado out, and just when it looked like he was going to call the fight he allowed Maldonado to continue.

Maldonado managed to survive the round, but as soon as the doctor saw him he told the referee to wave the fight off, ending his brave resistance and giving Teixeira the TKO win.

The co-main featured heavyweight action as Minotauro Nogueira took on Dave Herman.

This was good, and while many thought that Big Nog would take control early on it was Herman who scored with the early takedown. Nog managed to escape eventually, setting up what became an intriguing first round.

The fight really came alive in the second. Big Nog connected with a big left early on that sent Herman to the ground. Nogueira followed him down for some stellar ground work, and although Herman showed some sound defensive skills at times, especially when he got back to his feet, Nogueira soon took the fight back down.

The end came a few moments later when Big Nog went for an armbar. Herman, who had never been submitted before tried to fight it for as long as he could, rolling at one point, but it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened as Herman tapped to give Big Nog the more than welcome submission win.

The main event featured light heavyweight action as Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva went up against Stephan Bonnar.

Was there really any doubt about who would win this one?

What he had here was a somewhat eccentric performance from the best in the world. Bonnar came forward early, and after trying for a couple of combinations he engaged in a long clinch against the cage as he went for the takedown.

It would be a tactic Bonnar would try later on in the round, but when they weren’t clinching Silva stood with his back to the cage, showboating a little and basically calling for Bonnar to hit him. Bonnar managed to get in a few good shots, but it wasn’t long before Silva had the American Psycho back peddling with some crisp striking.

Silva then connected with a knee to the chest that doubled Bonnar over as he slumped to the mat. Silva followed him down for a spot of ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give Silva the TKO win.

In conclusion - you see, I normally like listening to thunder storms. For some reason they help me sleep, and for an insomnia sufferer like me that’s quite helpful.

But let’s get back to the matter at hand. Did UFC 153 deliver?

It certainly did. I may have missed the prelims and one of the main fights but overall this was a pretty enjoyable show.

Demian Maia looks like a completely different fight since he moved down to welterweight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he manages to get into the title picture soon, especially if he continues with his great performances.

It was great to see Big Nog back in the cage and doing what he does best. Just thinking of Frank Mir braking his arm makes me shudder, and it was great to see the big man getting back to winning ways with some nice Brazilian jiu-jitsu. (Slight dig at Dave Herman there!)

As for Anderson Silva, to me it looked like he was treating this like an overexposed sparring session. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty good performance, but he’s just a class above everyone else in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Well, there could be one man who could give him a run for his money. Two if you count a certain welterweight.

But you haven’t mentioned your fight of the night yet, I hear you cry. That’s because I’m giving this no-prize to the Jon Fitch/Erick Silva welterweight encounter. Much was expected of Silva going into that fight, but Fitch took him to the proverbial wood shed and taught him a few lessons. Silva is definitely one for the future, and hopefully he’ll learn a great deal from this defeat.

With all that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving UFC 153 the big thumbs up, and let’s hope that we don’t get an out of season November thunder storm when Rich Franklin takes on Cung Le next month!

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