UFC 153: 3 Big Keys to Victory for Stephan Bonnar
Stephan Bonnar has the chance of a lifetime at UFC 153. A massive underdog against opponent and best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet Anderson Silva, Bonnar has the opportunity to stun the world.
After almost a year away from the cage, Bonnar returns to try to pick up his fourth straight victory. However, very few are giving the former The Ultimate Fighter runner-up much of a chance.
UFC 153 will be held at the HSBC Arena in Silva's backyard of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bonnar will enter hostile territory to try to pull off the upset. Just like his TUF counterpart, Forrest Griffin, he will have a quick escape planned, as his wife is set to give birth at any time.
Here are three big keys for a Bonnar victory before his kid arrives on the scene.
Close the Distance
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Chael Sonnen laid out the blueprint at UFC 117 and showcased it again in the first round at UFC 148. Do not give Anderson Silva space.
That is, of course, easier said than done.
Stephan Bonnar is a tough, durable fighter who is a fantastic grappler. In both of his TKO losses, the fights were stopped due to a cut.
He needs to employ the Sonnen mentality of pressuring Silva quickly. Taking away that space gives him an opportunity to put Silva on his back. More importantly, it takes some of the power away from his strikes.
Bonnar is not Sonnen. He does not have the same wrestling credentials as the West Linn native, but Bonnar can still move quickly to get his hands on Silva.
Sonnen gave a good map to beating Silva, and Bonnar needs to follow it if he wants to avoid becoming just another victim.
Use His Size
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Stephan "The American Psycho" Bonnar will enter with a size advantage, and he should use it.
Both men are taking this fight on short notice, and that brings up questions of endurance. If Bonnar is making Anderson Silva carry his weight from the early goings of the fight, he can wear down the middleweight champion.
Only Sonnen has been able to truly push "The Spider" inside the Octagon, but if Bonnar can take advantage of a not-quite-as-prepared Silva, he stands a chance.
There are not a lot of great options to pursue against Silva. He is that good and has proven it time and again throughout his career.
Bonnar needs to use his physical attributes to his advantage, make Silva carry his weight and hope that it can drain Silva's energy.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
The biggest factor of this fight may not be either fighter, but perhaps that the main event is only scheduled for three rounds instead of five.
Should this fight go to the judges' scorecards, the winner would only have to win two rounds of the fight, and that is great news for Stephan Bonnar.
If he can get Anderson Silva to the ground, he should not be in a rush to try to finish the fight. He needs to take his time and stay on top. Being in top position looks great to the judges and can help him pull out a big decision in Rio.
Silva is a master of capitalizing on his opponent's mistakes, but if Bonnar is patient, he can avoid making a fatal error. A total of 15 minutes of action is all he needs to survive.
Bonnar's career has been filled with firefights and brawls, but that is not the path to success against Silva. Patience is.