The last time that the UFC went to Brazil, fans were treated to a lackluster card that included a rematch no one asked for in the main event and five promotional newcomers on the main card.
Silva faces Ultimate Fighter pioneer Stephan Bonnar in a light heavyweight contest that promises to produce fireworks. Billed as a battle that can only end in a spectacular knockout or an incredible upset, there is little question that the fight is the type of battle that fans crave.
Big Nog sees action for the first time in 10 months when he meets 21-4 heavyweight Dave Herman in another brilliant stylistic matchup.
Top prospects Erick Silva and Glover Teixeira will both try to live up to their hype when they meet Jon Fitch and Fabio Maldonado, respectively. Will either man be upset, or will they contender to climb the divisional ladder?
A rematch between light heavyweight standout Phil Davis and undefeated Brazilian Wagner Prado takes place on the card, as well as an exciting welterweight matchup between exceptional grappler Demian Maia and relentless Rick Story.
Only a few days away from fight night, let's take a look at UFC 153, including fight previews, odds and predictions for all six main-card bouts.
The main card kicks off with an intriguing battle between former middleweight contender Demian Maia and a man who was once thought of as the next big thing at welterweight, Rick Story.
Story put together a six-fight winning streak, which included signature wins against Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves and led some to believe that he could be a legitimate threat against the elite at 170 pounds.
Consecutive losses to Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann dropped Story out of contention, although a win over Brock Jardine put him back in the win column.
On the other hand, this will be the second welterweight appearance for Maia, who dropped down after a 10-4 run at middleweight. His losses came at the hands of Anderson Silva, Nate Marquardt, Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman.
Betting Odds: Demian Maia (-137) over Rick Story (+107) at BetDSI.eu
The best odds on Rick Story (+128) can be found at SportBet
Prediction: Rick Story has a wrestling-centric attack that will have to be curbed in this contest due to the horrifying jiu-jitsu of Maia. For that reason, he will look to wrestle defensively in order to keep this fight standing.
I didn't think that Demian Maia would be able to work judo specialist Dong Hyun Kim to the ground, but the Brazilian made me a believer by getting in close and applying constant pressure.
Don't think that Story's wrestling is enough to keep this fight standing, because Maia was able to throw Chael Sonnen to the mat, and his pedigree is much better than that of "the Horror."
Demian Maia defeats Rick Story via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 2
The first bout between light heavyweights Phil Davis and Wagner Prado certainly didn't go as smoothly as anticipated. When a highly ranked fighter such as Davis meets a promotional newcomer like Prado, fans look for a steamroller type of scenario to unfold.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much action between the two, as an errant eye poke brought the bout to a half quickly into the opening frame.
Rebooked in Prado's native country of Brazil, the rematch will either give Davis his first win in 19 months or create a new star in Prado.
Betting Odds: Phil Davis (-325) over Wagner Prado (+270) at BetOnline.com
The best odds on Wagner Prado (+309) can be found at SportBet
Prediction: Lasting only 88 seconds, we did not get enough of a look at Prado to determine how this fight would have unfolded. For that reason, it's surprising to note that the betting line on Davis was -600 for the first fight, and has nearly been cut in half this time around.
Prado's bread and butter comes in his striking, which led to seven knockouts on his flawless 8-0 (1) record. If he can avoid the takedowns of Davis, this is a fight he should dominate.
However, given the tremendous wrestling credentials of "Mr. Wonderful," you can expect him to apply pressure and get this fight to the canvas often and with little difficulty.
This fight looks to be designed as a way to get Davis some added momentum after a disappointing loss to Rashad Evans in January. The delay doesn't change that.
Phil Davis defeats Wagner Prado via unanimous decision.
Has it really been more than two years since Jon Fitch has won a fight?
Dull as he may be, the man who was long considered the be the No. 2 welterweight on the planet will be looking to prove a point on Saturday night. The chip on his shoulder comes from a 12-second knockout at the hands of Johny Hendricks.
Standing across the cage from him is hot Brazilian prospect Erick Silva. The youngster is 3-0 in the UFC (that's right, I refuse to acknowledge the ridiculous disqualification loss that he received against Carlo Prater) and is fresh off the heels of a first-round submission against Charlie Brenneman.
Betting Odds: Erick Silva (-125) over Jon Fitch (-105) at SportsInteraction
The best odds on Jon Fitch (+120) can be found at Bet US
Prediction: Erick Silva is young and one of the brightest prospects of any weight class. That being said, he acts quickly while in the Octagon, which makes him prone to mistakes. If he throws his devastating kicks, he opens himself up for the takedown, which Fitch will, no doubt, be prepared for.
Jon Fitch is the wrong fighter to overlook. The man holds a record of 13-2-1 inside the Octagon and has only been beaten by the elite members of the welterweight division. For Silva to be the betting favorite in this fight is surprising to say the last.
Fitch took the best shots that GSP could throw at him for 25 minutes, but he was clipped by a great punch by Johny Hendricks. That being said, his chin should hold up long enough to secure the takedowns he will be looking for.
As easy as it is to hate Fitch, I see him derailing the hype train behind Silva with his stifling brand of ground and pound.
Jon Fitch defeats Erick Silva via unanimous decision.
The original co-main event of UFC 153 saw Glover Teixeira stepping up to face Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in a bout that would show us exactly how good the Pit's prospect truly is.
After Jackson was forced out of the bout, Teixeira was in need of a new opponent. With the reputation of being a dangerous opponent no matter where the fight goes, finding a replacement wasn't going to be an easy task.
Thankfully for Dana White, boxer Fabio Maldonado threw his name into the hat by publicly volunteering to take on the fellow Brazilian. Could it be his undoing?
Betting Odds: Glover Teixeira (-330) over Fabio Maldonado (+350) at BetOnline
The best odds on Fabio Maldonado can be found at Sportsbook.ag
Prediction: Fabio Maldonado is one of the best boxers that mixed martial arts has ever seen. With an under-utilized strategy of peppering his opponent's torso with punches, the one-time Fight of the Night winner is more of an endurance style fighter who is unlikely to score a quick win.
With the incredible punching power of Teixeira, it's doubtful that Maldonado will have time to implement his game plan before succumbing to damage, regardless of how well his chin has held up in the past.
Teixeira is great on the ground and will look to work the fight to a place where he has the biggest advantage. I think he will be able to get it there.
Glover Teixeira defeats Fabio Maldonado via ground and pound in Round 1
Who would have guessed that in losing Jose Aldo and Rampage Jackson, the UFC would find replacement opponents who have bigger name valued in Brazil?
Antonio Nogueira was scheduled to face Chieck Kongo at UFC 149, but an injury forced him to withdraw. It would have been the first contest for the former PRIDE champion since losing to Frank Mir last December.
Agreeing to face Nogueira on short notice is Dave "Pee Wee" Herman. The sometimes-hairy heavyweight sees this bout as an opportunity to get his career back on track after consecutive losses to Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson.
Neither fighter can afford to lose in this situation, but the stylistic matchup is one that makes fans winners regardless of the outcome.
Betting Odds: Minotauro Nogueira (-255) over Dave Herman (+227) at PinnacleSports.com
The best odds on Dave Herman (+257 can be found at SportBet
Prediction: Herman should be able to fare well in the standup portion of this contest. He has solid power, a speed advantage and will not have to worry about fending off nasty kicks from an opponent with the tendencies of Silva.
Nogueira should have a major advantage in the grappling department, and he has the power to finish this fight on the feet in the event that Herman dictates the positioning.
In my opinion, this fight is the hardest to predict of them all. Nogueira is a lovable legend, but his skills have deteriorated in recent years. With losses to only world champions, it is incredibly hard to bet against him in a fight with someone the caliber of Dave Herman, but at 36 years old, this was a dangerous fight to take on short notice.
I think Herman will be able to keep this bout standing, and will use his speed advantage to win two rounds.
Dave Herman defeats Minotauro Nogueira via unanimous decision.
UFC 153 was supposed to be headlined by a superfight between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. When a motorcycle accident left Aldo with an injured foot, it also left the Brazilian event without a main event.
Proving to be a company man, Anderson Silva agreed to fight any light heavyweight that the UFC could find on one month's notice. Although not the most obvious selection, ultimately, the organization selected Stephan Bonnar.
Bonnar is a semi-retired fighter who rides the momentum of three consecutive wins, albeit over less than stellar competition.
The most interesting fact about this fight is that Bonnar has never been knocked out or submitted in his career, and could prove to be hyper-durable in this potential bloodbath.
Betting Odds: Anderson Silva (-1025) over Stephan Bonnar (+800) at BetUS.ag
The best odds on Stephan Bonnar (+867) can be found at SportBet
Prediction: Make no mistake about it: Stephan Bonnar can win this fight. He simply won't.
Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter who ever lived, and Stephan Bonnar is a quality fighter who is in over his head. Silva holds the advantage in nearly every category. From hand speed to submission prowess to clinch work and everything else you can think of, there isn't a lot of hope for Bonnar to pull this one off.
There is nothing wrong with booking a fun fight. Instead of having to wait until mid-2013 to see Anderson Silva fight again, we get him only three months after his last appearance. Let's just count our blessings, enjoy the fight and hope that the knockout comes in spectacular fashion.
Anderson Silva defeats Stephan Bonnar via TKO in Round 3