Stephan Bonnar is a historic underdog against Anderson Silva, and the UFC doesn't need to pretend otherwise.
During the promotion for UFC 152, nothing was more infuriating than seeing Vitor Belfort falsely billed as the former heavyweight champion.
Sadly, that's the kind of advertising the UFC clearly felt they had to resort to in order to drum up interest for the fight—a light heavyweight title bout where betting odds universally favored Jon Jones against an overmatched middleweight contender.
Suggesting that Belfort had been a two-division champion was an ugly move, and even worse, the UFC barely acknowledged the fact that he was a massive underdog.
Thankfully, the marketing department isn't repeating that dishonesty with Stephan Bonnar.
It's unexpected, but at least the UFC is playing this one straight.
For this match, the story behind the main event should be wrapped around the ridiculously long odds against Silva losing to Bonnar. It's a modern day Rocky story that's been gift-wrapped for the promotion, and they would be foolish if they didn't run with it all the way to fight night.
Sure, most MMA fans know that this is a bout Bonnar likely won't come close to winning. It's nothing more than an obvious Hail Mary match made to pander to the 14,000 Brazilians who will pack the HSBC Arena to see the world's greatest fighter at work.
If the UFC wants to continuing selling this correctly, they won't shy away from acknowledging that Bonnar is a lunatic for taking the fight.
But at the same time, they need to remind people that in MMA, anything can happen.
Even the biggest underdogs get lucky. Matt Serra made Georges St. Pierre quit. Frankie Edgar out-hustled B.J. Penn. Fabricio Werdum submitted Fedor Emelianenko in one round. Just this past weekend, Vitor Belfort came within a few inches of destroying Jon Jones' arm.
Whether by cut, doctor's stoppage, a controversial referee decision, divine intervention or a flying scissors heel hook, it's possible that "The Spider" can lose.
Dana White and the UFC don't have to pretend that Bonnar is some elite striker or grappler who can easily expose one of Silva's minor weaknesses, but they can still promote the fight on one of the oldest adages in the sport.
"Everyone gets caught." Everyone. At UFC 153, it might happen to Anderson Silva.