UFC 153: Keys to Victory for Every Main Card Fighter
A host of Brazilian legends and rising prospects will be on display at this weekend's UFC 153 as they look to put on a show for their fellow countrymen in Rio de Janiero.
Taking on these hometown favorites will be a ton of experienced veterans who will look to spoil the fun for their Brazilian opponents.
Despite the number of changes made to the injury-plagued event, UFC 153 still packs a punch as the exciting card will definitely deliver the action—especially with Anderson Silva leading the charge.
Here are the keys to victory for every fighter set to do battle on the main card.
Rick Story: Impose His Will
In order to take out submission specialist Demian Maia, Rick Story should look at how some of the former middleweight contender's previous foes faired against the Brazilian.
"The Horror" should take a page out of Chris Weidman's and Mark Munoz's book and look to impose his will on Maia. Story needs to pressure him with strikes standing up and while keeping Maia guessing by mixing in takedown shots against the cage.
The key is to take the energy out of Maia, which Story can accomplish by smothering him with top control on the ground and by beating the Brazilian up on the fences when standing.
Demian Maia: Mix Things Up and Get It to the Ground
Everyone knows that Maia is a submission ace first and foremost, so his key to victory is to mix things up.
In order to get Story to the ground, Maia will have to set up his shots better and not telegraph them. That means a better use of his striking, although the Brazilian must be wary of getting into a stand-up battle.
On the ground, Maia has to make sure he's on top or in an advantageous position as Story will be a hard guy to reverse or submit from guard.
Wagner Prado: Takedown Defense
Other than not getting poked in the eye again, Wagner Prado must keep the fight standing in his rematch with Phil Davis.
"Mr. Wonderful" is a fantastic wrestler that definitely won't look to stand and trade with the heavy handed Brazilian, so Prado must stay on point with his takedown defense.
The Brazilian has a huge advatange in the striking department with seven of his eight wins coming via KO, so it's imperative that he make Davis get into a striking battle.
Phil Davis: Takedowns
Davis will need to employ the exact opposite strategy against Prado, meaning a major focus on the takedown.
"Mr. Wonderful" has improved his striking over the years, but it would be idiotic of him to try and stand and bang with Prado.
The key for Davis is to get this fight to the ground as soon as possible and smother Prado from on top.
Erick Silva: Keep the Fight Standing
Much like the previous bout, Erick Silva must also look to keep the fight standing against Jon Fitch.
The former welterweight top contender loves to get on top and grind his way to victory and has been exploited on his feet before.
While the Brazilian has great jiu-jitsu, there's no reason to take a chance on getting into grappling war with Fitch, so Silva must make his American foe strike with him.
Jon Fitch: Top Game
Fitch's top game is one the best in all of MMA and has stymied top-ranked ground guys in the past.
Silva's a fierce and athletic opponent who will look to force Fitch to stand and bang, which would be a terrible situation for the former top contender.
If Fitch can get it to the ground, however, he can take the life out of Silva by imposing his will with his top game.
Fabio Maldonado: Make It a War
Fabio Maldonado's back is against the fence in this bout as a third straight loss may mean a pink slip from UFC President Dana White.
Highly touted prospect Glover Teixeira is a well-rounded opponent who's technically superior in almost every area. Maldonado must avoid getting into a technical battle with the fellow Brazilian and look to make it a stand-up war.
The Team Nogueira product may be the heavy underdog but can pull out the upset if he forces Teixeira into a slugfest.
Glover Teixeira: Dictate the Pace
Teixeira needs to avoid Maldonado's power in this bout by dictating the pace and not getting goaded into a slugfest.
To take out Maldonado, Teixeira will have to use a more technical approach, picking his strikes and shots against the heavy handed Brazilian while not letting Maldonado get into a rhythm.
Teixeira has the better overall game and should be able to use his skill and experience to take the win.
Dave Herman: Keeping His Hands Up
It's been rough for Dave Herman recently in the Octagon, getting knocked out in back-to-back bouts by Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve.
Taking on the legendary Minotauro Nogueira, he will be facing another tough striker and must not leave his hands low or else risk history repeating itself once again.
Another brutal knockout loss may mean the end of Herman's stint in the UFC.
Minotauro Nogueira: Experience
Minotauro Nogueira has been a legend of the sport for years and will have a huge experience advantage over Herman.
Nogueira has seen it all inside the Octagon so there's little that "Pee-Wee" can do to surprise him. As long as the Brazilian stays relaxed and pressures Herman with his striking, he should be able to make it a second straight victory in Rio.
Stephan Bonnar: A Miracle
It's no secret that Stephan Bonnar is the huge underdog against Anderson Silva—and for good reason.
There's virtually no area where "the American Pyscho" has a distinct advantage over the pound-for-pound king, so it will take a miracle for Bonnar to leave Brazil with a win.
It may be high-risk, high-reward, but the former Ultimate Fighter finalist has to throw caution to the wind and slug away at the middleweight champ or else Silva will just pick him apart and leave Bonnar a bloody mess.
Anderson Silva: Do What He Does Best
Silva did the UFC a favor by taking this fight, but it's not like he's putting himself at that much risk against Bonnar.
Having the edge in virtuallly every category against "the American Pyscho," it's pretty much up to Silva as to what method he wants to win by, as long as he doesn't get cocky or get goaded into a slugfest.
If Silva just keeps doing what he does best and picks Bonnar apart, this should be a relatively quick night for the middleweight champ.