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UFC 153 Fight Card: Info and Predictions for Silva vs Bonnar

Sean SmithAnalyst IDecember 12, 2016

UFC 153 Fight Card: Info and Predictions for Silva vs Bonnar

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    Anderson Silva has accomplished more than any other fighter in UFC history. By accepting a light heavyweight bout against Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153, which was previously headlined by a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, Silva has added "event savior" to his long list of descriptions.

    With Aldo and co-headliner Quinton Jackson being forced off of the fight card due to injuries, the UFC needed one of its biggest stars to step up in order to avoid cancelling a second event in as many months.

    Though it has been pegged as one of the biggest mismatches in MMA history by oddsmakers, the bout between Silva and Bonnar helped the UFC avoid serious embarrassment. Additionally, Silva training partner Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira took a fight with Dave Herman on short notice to give UFC 153 a stronger co-main event. 

    With the event set to take place this Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, let's take a look at the rest of the fight card and the competitors who should walk away from UFC 153 with a win.

     

     

Christiano Marcello vs. Reza Madadi

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    How to Watch: Facebook at 7 p.m. ET

     

    Despite losing to Sam Sicilia in his first fight since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter, Christiano Marcello has been given another chance to keep his UFC career alive. However, the 34-year-old jiu-jitsu black belt is facing a tough stylistic matchup against Reza Madadi.

    Madadi is riding a seven-fight winning streak and recently picked up a submission win over Yoislandy Izquierdo in his Octagon debut. Though, what really makes Mazdadi a bad matchup for Marcello is the Swedish fighter's submission defense, as he has never been forced to tap during his MMA career.

    A true one-dimensional jiu-jitsu practitioner, Marcello has telegraphed takedowns and poor striking technique. Look for Madadi to keep this fight standing and pick the Brazilian apart on his feet. 

     

    Prediction

    Madadi defeats Marcello by second-round technical knockout.

Luiz Cane vs. Chris Camozzi

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    How to Watch: Facebook at 7 p.m. ET

     

    A loser of three out of his past four fights, Luiz Cane has not fought since an August 2011 knockout loss to Stanislav Nedkov. On top of that, Cane will be making the cut to middleweight for the first time in his UFC career, which may or may not have an impact on his conditioning at UFC 153.

    Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Camozzi has won back-to-back fights and continues to look better and better with each Octagon appearance. At his young age, Camozzi appears to be turning into a well-rounded fighter who could earn himself a long-term spot on the UFC's 185-pound roster.

    Since his knockout win over Reameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Cane has not looked good against capable strikers.

    However, in Camozzi, Cane will not be facing an opponent with knockout power. If this fight stays standing, Cane's punching power makes him much more capable of ending the bout with a single strike. A jiu-jitsu black belt, Cane has also never been submitted.   

     

    Prediction

    Cane defeats Camozzi by second-round technical knockout.

Sergio Moraes vs. Renee Forte

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    How to Watch: FX at 8 p.m. ET

     

    After coming up short in the middleweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Sergio Moraes has dropped to welterweight for a bout against UFC newcomer Renee Forte. 

    In this matchup between two Brazilians, Moraes' experience of already fighting inside the Octagon in his home country could help ease his nerves significantly. 

    With only one true knockout win, Forte is no juggernaut on his feet, and there are few 170-pound fighters who will be able to hang with a former jiu-jitsu world champion like Moraes on the ground.

    Expect the entertaining Moraes to please fans with some wild exchanges in the first round before taking Forte to the canvas in the second frame and locking up a rear-naked choke. 

     

    Prediction

    Moraes defeats Forte by second-round submission.

Diego Brandao vs. Joey Gambino

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    How to Watch: FX at 8 p.m. ET

     

    In his most recent fight, Diego Brandao started strong against one of the better mid-level featherweights on the UFC roster in Darren Elkins. Though he faded in the later rounds, Brandao's performance in the first round showed he will have a bright future in MMA.

    Conversely, Joey Gambino had a rough outing in his UFC debut, where he was submitted by Steven Siler in the first round. The loss was the first of Gambino's career, but it prompted questions about whether the 23-year-old was ready for UFC-level competition.

    On the surface, this matchup looks like one crafted in an effort to get The Ultimate Fighter winner Brandao back on a winning track. It should play out that way as well, with Brandao becoming the second to stop Gambino in the opening frame. 

     

    Prediction

    Brandao defeats Gambino by first-round submission.

Gleison Tibau vs. Francisco Trinaldo

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    How to Watch: FX at 8 p.m. ET

     

    Gleison Tibau recently had a three-fight winning streak come to an end as a result of a controversial decision in a bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now, the large lightweight will meet another fighter who I can only assume will appear monstrous at 155 pounds. 

    In his last fight, Francisco Trinaldo competed at middleweight and defeated Delson Heleno with a first-round knockout. Even at 185 pounds, Trinaldo looked cut, so it is hard to imagine the Brazilian dropping 30 more pounds without sacrificing his conditioning.

    With 16 UFC fights under his belt, Tibau is experienced enough to know he should fight conservatively early to wear Trinaldo out after a hard weight cut. Once Trinaldo fades, Tibau will be able to emply his game plan and likely walk away with a decision win.

     

    Prediction

    Tibau defeats Trinaldo by decision.

Rony Jason vs. Sam Sicilia

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    How to Watch: FX at 8 p.m. ET

     

    The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner Rony Jason is now ready to really begin his UFC career, but he'll first have to prove himself against another The Ultimate Fighter contestant in Sam Sicilia. 

    Sicilia knocked out Christiano Marcello in his UFC debut, but the 26-year-old looked very sloppy in doing so. The 26-year-old winged punches until finally putting Marcello down.

    In Jason, Sicilia will be facing a much more well-rounded Brazilian. If Sicilia comes out against Jason the same way he did against Marcello, Jason will duck one of his wild punches and take the fight to the ground. From there, the jiu-jitsu black belt will have a significant advantage. 

     

    Prediction

    Jason defeats Sicilia by first-round submission.

Demian Maia vs. Rick Story

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    How to Watch: Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET

     

    When Demian Maia made the decision to drop from middleweight to welterweight, many figured it would only be a matter of time until the Brazilian became a 170-pound contender. In his home country, Maia will have a chance to make that happen against Rick Story.

    Rick Story is a good wrestler and boxer, but he's not exceptional in either area. 

    Maia has developed the boxing to survive against Story when standing, and the world-class grappler certainly has the advantage over Story on the ground. It won't be a dominant performance, but Maia should be able to take a big step toward the top of the welterweight division with a win over Story.

     

    Prediction

    Maia defeats Story by decision.

Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado

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    How to Watch: Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET

     

    After their first meeting ended in an unfortunate eye poke, Phil Davis and Wagner Prado are set to meet one against in Prado's home country of Brazil. 

    Prado has now had plenty of time to prepare for Davis, which should be of concern to Davis due to the fact that Prado trains with a past opponent in Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. 

    Still, Davis did not appear overwhelmed by Prado's striking in their first bout, and the Brazilian's stand-up is the strongest part of his game. Davis will probably look to use his wrestling sooner in this fight, and he should have a sizeable advantage once he takes this fight to the ground. 

     

    Prediction

    Davis defeats Prado by decision.

Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva

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    How to Watch: Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET

     

    Erick Silva is one of the brightest potential contenders in the welterweight division. That being said, he cannot give up an early takedown against Jon Fitch like he did against Charlie Brenneman in his most recent fight.

    Unlike he was able to do against Brenneman, Silva will not find it nearly as easy to escape from Fitch's grasps once he on the ground.

    The Brazilian will need to use a speed advantage to move in and out of Fitch's takedown range without allowing the American Kickboxing Academy product to tie him up. That is much easier said than done, especially against a Fitch that will be looking to redeem himself after a deflating knockout loss to Johny Hendricks.

    Silva will become a 170-pound title contender soon enough, but too many are counting Fitch out of this fight against an up-and-comer who still hasn't proven himself against an elite welterweight. With his wrestling and excellent submission defense, Fitch is exactly the type of fighter who will derail the Silva hype if that day ever comes.

     

    Prediction

    Fitch defeats Silva by decision.

Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado

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    How to Watch: Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET

     

    Glover Teixeira's striking got most of the attention after his win over Kyle Kingsbury despite the fact that the Brazilian finished that fight with a submission. Because of that, many are expecting a slugfect between Teixeira and former professional boxer Fabio Maldonado.

    There's a chance the Brazilian's will stand and bang to please fans at the start, but Teixeira is eventually going to take the fight to the place where he has the best chances of stopping it. 

    After recognizing Maldonado has a stone chin, Teixeira will take his fellow Brazilian to the ground and pick up what would be his fourth submission win in five fights.

     

    Prediction

    Teixeira defeats Maldonado by first-round submission.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman

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    How to Watch: Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET

     

    Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is finally ready to return to the Octagon after the gruesome arm injury he suffered after refusing to tap when caught in a Frank Mir kimura. Prior to getting himself stuck in that submission, Nogueira had battered Mir in the stand-up department.

    Against Dave Herman, who has been knocked out in his past two appearances, Nogueira may elect to stay standing this time and look for another highlight-reel knockout in his home country to match his emotional win over Brendan Schaub from August 2011.

    Though mostly known for his grappling, Nogueira has some solid boxing as well, and he will utilize that to put Herman away early to prep the crowd for Anderson Silva's arrival.

     

    Prediction

    Nogueira defeats Herman by first-round knockout.

Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar

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    How to Watch: Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET

     

    If Stephen Bonnar is looking to go out on his shield, I can't think of a better matchup for him. Having never been knocked out due to anything other than cuts, Bonnar has an amazing chin, which should make for a round or two of stand-up mayhem.

    That being said, Bonnar has a tendency to bleed a lot, and Anderson Silva has a tendency to land elbows and knees a lot. Eventually, Bonnar is going to get cut open badly, and it's going to lead to his third career loss due to cut.  

    What ever happens in this fight, both men should be applauded for doing their parts in keeping a UFC event alive. Were it not for the Silvas and Bonnars of the world, the UFC would have a serious crisis on its hands.

     

    Prediction

    Silva defeats Bonnar by second-round technical knockout.

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