UFC 153 Fight Card: Power Ranking the Brazilian Fighters
UFC 153 takes place in Brazil, and the majority of the fighters on the card are Brazilian. These fighters include stars and prospects alike.
The card was originally headlined by Jose Aldo in another title defense, first against Erik Koch and later vs. Frankie Edgar. Since both of those fell through, Anderson Silva now headlines the card against Stephan Bonnar.
Here is a power ranking of the Brazilian fighters on the card.
No. 15: Renee Forte
Renee Forte is making his debut on the card against fellow Ultimate Fighter: Brazil castmate Sergio Moraes.
Interestingly enough, Forte and Moraes were teammates on the show.
Forte has only lost once in his eight-fight career. However, all of his fights have been in the Brazilian regional circuit, so he is still unproven in the big leagues.
No. 14: Cristiano Marcello
A veteran of the 15th season of TUF, Cristiano Marcello got another fight in the UFC despite losing at the finale to Sam Sicilia.
Marcello is best known for his backstage submission of Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett in Pride, which saw Marcello triangle choke Bennett into asphyxiation.
This fight is a must-win for Marcello, who was lucky enough to get another fight when he lost at the finale. He faces a tough matchup in Reza Madadi, who presents a difficult style for the Brazilian grappler.
No. 13: Sergio Moraes
A finalist by default in the Brazilian edition of TUF, Sergio Moraes finds himself in a must-win situation when he fights Renee Forte.
He took the finals spot in the finale when Daniel Sarafian went down with injury. He put up a valiant effort, but was ultimately defeated by Cezar Ferreira.
Another loss here would likely cost "Serginho" his job, as will a loss for his opponent.
No. 12: Wagner Prado
You may remember Wagner Prado for his eventful debut against Phil Davis. Of course, by eventful, I mean the fight ended in a no contest due to an eye poke on Prado.
He will get another stab at Davis on the main card in an attempt to upset the American wrestler. Prado is a striker, so you will definitely see contrasting styles clash this weekend.
No. 11: Luiz Cane
Luiz Cane is making his middleweight debut, but it comes on the heels of a 14-month layoff. This is because Cane is coming off a couple of injuries that kept him out of action.
He will be making his 185-pound debut against Chris Camozzi, who looks like he is hitting his stride as a UFC employee.
Cane will entertain Camozzi on the feet and make this a slugfest. He has a very good chance at being a top-15 middleweight with his all-around game.
No. 10: Diego Brandao
Winner of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Diego Brandao has had his share of ups and downs in the UFC. He won the six-figure contract with a comeback armbar over Dennis Bermudez, but lost in dominant fashion to Darren Elkins.
Brandao is always one strike away from ending a fight. He is also very educated in submissions, so any fight with Brandao can end in an instant.
His opponent is Joey Gambino, who appears to be a sacrificial lamb. Expect a good performance out of the Brazilian.
No. 9: Fabio Maldonado
Stepping up on late notice for Quinton Jackson is Fabio Maldonado. He enthusiastically volunteered to fight Glover Teixeira when "Rampage" checked out due to injury.
Maldonado has not been in a boring fight since he entered the UFC, but may be in a do-or-die situation. As seen with DaMarques Johnson, even stepping up on short notice could get you the axe from the bosses.
Maldonado will give us a great fight on Saturday night, though Teixeira may be too much for him.
No. 8: Francisco Trinaldo
Known as "Massaranduba" during his time on TUF: Brazil, Francisco Trinaldo fought his UFC debut at middleweight and destroyed a skilled fighter in Delson Heleno.
Now at lightweight, which is 30 pounds below middleweight, Trinaldo looks to be a very large 155-pounder. He takes on another huge lightweight in Gleison Tibau, which could make for an interesting matchup.
It is a big step up in competition for Trinaldo, but he looks game enough to be a part of the division.
No. 7: Gleison Tibau
Francisco Trinaldo's opponent, Gleison Tibau, was recently on a three-fight win streak before it was snapped by an arguable unanimous decision against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Tibau is a hulk of a man. He is always the biggest fighter in the cage when he fights. However, he may have an opponent his own size in the cage with him when he throws down with Trinaldo.
No. 6: Demian Maia
Dropping to welterweight looks like it was a great idea for Demian Maia, who now faces Rick Story to move up the ladder of the 170-pound division.
Though his welterweight debut was somewhat marred by Dong Hyun Kim's "injury," Maia still proved that 170 pounds is his best weight class.
No. 5: Rony Jason
TUF: Brazil winner Rony Jason is a good-looking talent that has a chance to make a run in the featherweight division.
Jason won the reality series with a win over Godofredo Pepey. He has powerful striking and strong submissions. He is also very tough, so knocking the Brazilian out will not be easy.
He faces another TUF fighter—one from the American version of the show—in Sam Sicilia.
No. 4: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
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The legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has appeared to slow as of late, but is still a very dangerous adversary for anyone.
His striking has looked incredible in his last few fights, knocking Brendan Schaub silly and popping Frank Mir before Mir turned the tables in the submission game.
Nogueira has a solid matchup in Dave Herman, so expect him to show off his skills coming off his gruesome arm injury.
No. 3: Glover Teixeira
Long-time myth Glover Teixeira is now a legit UFC employee, recently and gloriously making his debut over Kyle Kingsbury. It was a dominant performance that has put him on the radar of many casual fans.
Teixeira is a training partner of Chuck Liddell, and it shows with his powerful striking. Add to that his world-class grappling skills, and you have yourself a potential contender at light heavyweight.
No. 2: Erick Silva
Up-and-comer Erick Silva has been nothing short of amazing so far in his UFC career, but will have a huge test in Jon Fitch this Saturday.
Many people are already crowning Silva the winner of the fight, but believe me, it is a tough matchup for the young Brazilian. Fitch is experienced and will grind Silva if he gets him down.
Silva is an extraordinary talent and can move into title contention with a victory over Fitch.
No. 1: Anderson Silva
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Of course, topping the power rankings is the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time Anderson Silva.
He takes this fight with Stephan Bonnar on short notice to save a card that could likely have been cancelled.
Silva has not lost in the UFC. A usual middleweight, Silva is currently 2-0 when fighting at light heavyweight, beating the likes of James Irvin and Forrest Griffin.
Look for another classic performance from Silva when he fights the dangerous and game Bonnar this Saturday.