UFC 153: Career Defining Moment for Each Fighter on the Card
UFC 153 features fighters who are both well accomplished in this sport and young lions who are just beginning to hit their stride.
Fighters such as Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar are nearing the end of their careers and have highlights for days.
But young up-and-comers like Erick Silva are just getting started in this sport, and their career-defining moment may not be within sight. Heck, the way Silva's been ripping through competition, his career-defining moment may happen when he's a champion one day.
So keeping that in mind, here are the career-defining moments for each fighter on the UFC's main card of UFC 153.
Win against Thiago Alves
Perhaps Rick Story was never taken seriously in the division until he defeated Thiago Alves in a grinder of a fight.
Story was a promising welterweight, but after he defeated Alves by way of decision at UFC 130, he went from being a prospect to a contender for the title.
Since then, he's dropped two of his last three bouts, which brings up the very possibility that his win against an established welterweight like Alves could be the height of his career.
Hey, it was a fun fight at least, right?
Submission victory against Chael Sonnen
Hold the phone—Chael P. Sonnen lost by triangle to a submission ace?
"You serious Clark?" So maybe Sonnen isn't the best at defending the triangle. That doesn't mean Demian Maia's execution at UFC 95 should be overlooked.
In one spectacular motion, Maia went from pressing Sonnen against the cage to taking him down and applying a triangle choke.
It was a sweet move, and the fact that it came against a man who claims to be undefeated and undisputed makes it that much more impressive.
Still in progress
Wagner Prado is but a baby in the UFC light heavyweight division.
His debut against Phil Davis lasted a good 88 seconds before it was ruled a no-contest, and that's his only fight so far within the company. That sets up the rematch at UFC 153 perfectly.
Since he only has one fight in the UFC, take a glance at his fights in lower organizations for a minute.
His 20-second knockout against Aldo Sultao reads well, but it looks even better on video. Check it out.
Submission win against Tim Boetsch
Phil Davis' career-defining moment was placed in front of him in a bout at UFC on Fox 2 against Rashad Evans.
A win would have easily been the biggest in his career and it would have earned Davis a title shot. Well, that win never came.
Because of that, he'll have to settle for his submission victory against Tim Boetsch at UFC 123, and that's not a terrible thing.
Pinning another man's arm behind his back and forcing him submit, especially when that man is as strong as Boetsch, isn't terrible at all.
Still in Progress
Erick Silva is a prodigy.
Though he only has three fights in the UFC, his skill attributes are borderline Jon Jones-like. Now, his wrestling isn't near as impressive as Jones', but his athleticism jumps off of the screen at you in the same way Jones' did in 2009.
Silva's best days are obviously ahead of him, but for the time being, his best moment has to be his UFC debut in Brazil.
At UFC 134, Silva knocked out Luis Ramos in 40 seconds. It was the kind of performance we've come to expect from another Silva in the UFC.
Decision loss to Georges St-Pierre
Jon Fitch's decision loss to Georges St-Pierre was more impressive than any of his 23 MMA wins.
Fitch is a beast, no doubt about that. If he grabs an opponent's leg, you can pretty much guarantee that Fitch is getting this fight to the ground and wearing down his opponent.
But even though it produces multiple wins inside the Octagon, that doesn't mean it's the most exciting forms of fighting. However, his battle with GSP at UFC 84 delivered the goods.
That's why Fitch's decision loss to GSP will be remembered above any of his decision wins in the UFC.
KO victory against James McSweeney
James McSweeney was thought to be a promising prospect coming off of TUF 10.
After Travis Browne put an end to that hype train, Fabio Maldonado put his stamp on McSweeney with a vicious knockout at UFC 120.
That's the good news. The bad news is, well, Maldonado hasn't really done anything since.
He fought in some wars with Kyle Kingsbury and Igor Pokrajac, and though the fights were thrilling, he came up short in both bouts. Maldonado needs a win here to try to build toward a new career-defining moment.
Yet to Come
You have one impressive victory in the UFC, and MMA fans go absolutely nuts.
That's the life of Glover Teixeira right now, and if I were him, I wouldn't complain one bit. It's nice to be admired by the fanbase after one outing.
Teixeira is a well-rounded fighter who loves to stand and bang with his opponents. That was obvious in his UFC debut against Kingsbury. The fight was similar to watching someone blindingly walk into the street in front of a speeding truck.
Kingsbury's face may have been imprinted into the mat after taking one brutal elbow strike after another.
KO victory in UFC debut
Dave Herman is a wild man, and UFC president Dana White doesn't take too kindly to the fighters who portray this "I don't really care" act.
Seeing as though Herman gives off that impression, his career isn't exactly in the best of hands at this point, especially since he's coming off two straight knockout losses.
That's why Herman's career-defining moment was the day he stepped into the Octagon for the first time and endured a slugfest with John Einemo.
Herman was the last man standing that day at UFC 131, as he defeated Einemo by TKO.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Submission win against Mirko Cro Cop
"Are you kidding me? He did it again!"
That was the reaction MMA fans around the world had when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira pulled off another magical submission.
Pulling off submissions from his legendary guard was something that Nogueira did quite frequently, but when he pulled it off on Mirko Cro Cop at Pride FC—Final Conflict 2003—it was the pinnacle of his career.
While some may argue that winning the UFC heavyweight belt was Nogueira's career-defining moment, his armbar victory against Cro Cop will always hold a special place in hardcore MMA fans' hearts.
TUF finale against Forrest Griffin
Come on, really?
There's no other choice for Stephan Bonnar's career-defining moment than Forrest Griffin, because the fight was the UFC's defining moment.
Bonnar and Griffin traded strikes for three full rounds in a classic that's arguably one of the best fights in MMA history. But hey, chances are you've heard this story a few times before.
Griffin and Bonnar taught UFC fans what it's like to throw technique out the window and pour your heart inside the Octagon, and seven years and some odd days later, we're still talking about it.
The comeback against Chael Sonnen
Looking back at Anderson Silva's career, we'll remember the flashy knockouts, but his legacy will be defined by his resiliency in his darkest hour.
Sonnen had the greatest fighter in MMA history on the verge of defeat, and somehow, someway Silva dug deep and pulled off a triangle with less than two minutes left in the fight.
Up until that point, the scorecards were all Sonnen, and Silva was able to escape with the victory and the belt. More importantly, he solidified his legacy as the UFC's greatest champion of all time.
Sure the front kick against Vitor Belfort will be played on highlight reels for years, but the champion's greatest moment came in a fight that he almost lost.
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