UFC 153: Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar Breakdown
The UFC middleweight champion, who will be making the move to light heavyweight once again, is the astronomically heavy favorite over "the American Pyscho" in this late-replacement main event.
While anything can happen in MMA, it will take a miracle for The Ultimate Fighter veteran to pull out the upset.
Let's take a look at just how unevenly matched Silva and Bonnar are in this bout.
Bonnar's a scrapper—plain and simple.
The hard-nosed veteran has won the adoration of fans over the years for his ability to plow through the punishment in order to land a strike.
Hopefully, Bonnar has learned from fellow TUF 1 finalist Forrest Griffin and realizes that this is probably the worst strategy you can have against Silva.
"The Spider" is a precision striker who loves to land counterattacks and will totally exploit Bonnar in this area.
Bonnar has decent wrestling skills and is even a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but that still won't help him on the ground against Silva.
The pound-for-pound king has dispatched Olympic and All-American wrestlers on the mats in the past and can more than hold his own in the BJJ department.
While I don't think this fight will turn into a grappling match, if the action hits the canvas, don't expect "The Spider" to let Bonnar leave his web.
The last time Bonnar submitted an opponent, Sean Sherk was still the UFC lightweight champion and Nate Marquardt was still a middleweight top contender.
The chances of "the American Pyscho" tapping out Silva—barring any Ryo Chonan-like flying scissor heel hooks— are slim at best, despite Bonnar owning one more submission win on his resume.
"The Spider" has so many submission attacks in his repertoire and is comfortable enough off his back that, no matter what Bonnar throws at him, Silva should be able to counter in a bigger and better way ont he ground.
Strength and Conditioning
Silva may be fighting up a weight class but will likely not have to worry about Bonnar trying to outmuscle him.
"The Spider" has one of those weird body types that allow him to fight in multiple divisions without sacrificing his strength and has proven in the past that he can hang with the light heavyweights.
In this three-round bout, cardio isn't that big of a factor, although both men are no strangers to going the distance.
Silva: The key for Silva in this bout is to just do what he does best—pick his opponents apart.
The middleweight king turned light-heavyweight headliner doesn't get riled up easily inside the cage so don't expect him to be goaded into a full on scrap with Bonnar.
As long as Silva keeps his composure and utilizes his precision striking, he should make quick work of "the American Pyscho."
Bonnar: The one asset that might benefit Bonnar in this bout is his incredibly durable chin.
Having previously weathered beatings from the likes of Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida—as well as his historic and bloody war with Forrest Griffin—Bonnar can take a serious punch.
He is going to have to channel his inner "American Pyscho" and just go balls-to-the-wall against Silva, as staying on the outside will only result in another, prolonged and gruesome beatdown.
It may not be the most relevant main event in history, but boy is this fight going to be fun to watch.
Silva, who stepped up to save the card in his native Brazil, will look to put on a show for the hometown crowd but knows he can't get too wild when he faces "the American Pyscho".
Bonnar will look to take the fight to "The Spider" and will definitely pay the price for being too overzealous.
Expect a methodical beat down by Silva in the opening frame before he puts on the theatrics and finishes Bonnar in the second round.
Prediction: Silva via technical knockout (second round)