Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar: 5 Questions We Have About Stephan Bonnar
Little more than a day before the UFC 153 fight card in Brazil, no one really knows what to make of light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar.
That kind of confidence is admirable, if strange.
Does Bonnar know something we don't? What makes him so confident?
And if he does defeat MMA's pound-for-pound king, what then?
As we go further into fight weekend, here are five big questions we still have about "The American Psycho" that won't be answered until UFC Rio 3 is in the books.
Can He Get Silva to the Ground?
Anderson Silva's weakest area is the ground game, an idea that was freshly replanted in everyone's minds after both his fights with Chael Sonnen.
To put it mildly, Stephan Bonnar is no wrestling ace.
But with his size and reach advantage against Silva, getting the fight to the mat might be as straightforward as wading through punches, grabbing the middleweight champion and using sheer will to drag him down to the Octagon floor.
Still, that's easier said than done.
If Silva was able to outclass Forrest Griffin on the feet with such ridiculous ease, Bonnar's not going to want the fight standing for any longer than he can help it.
Hopefully, Bonnar's spent his time cramming on double-leg takedowns and single-leg variants.
Can Bonnar Withstand Silva's Striking?
In 21 fights over 11 years, Stephan Bonnar has never been stopped on strikes or knocked out.
That's damned impressive, especially when you consider the fact that he's gone into battle with the likes of Jon Jones, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida. Each one of those men is known for finishing opponents with violent punching power.
So will Anderson Silva be the first to accomplish what all those other fighters couldn't?
Bonnar can take an insane amount of punishment over the course of three rounds, enough to cripple or kill any normal person. If he's going to beat Silva tomorrow, he's going to need every single bit of that toughness that he can muster.
Does He Have a Secret Submission Weapon?
Although Anderson Silva is undefeated in the Octagon, he has four losses on his record.
Discounting the disqualification loss to Yushin Okami, Silva has only been legitimately beaten three times: twice by submission and once by a judge's decision.
By that note, grappling may be Silva's weakest skill.
Stephan Bonnar, on the other hand, has a solid ground game with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlson Gracie, a grappling master who's instructed several Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champions.
Unlike Silva, Bonnar's also never been submitted.
It's unlikely that the Ultimate Fighter runner-up will fall prey to a triangle choke like the submission-prone Chael Sonnen—but if the opportunity presents itself, can he catch Silva in a surprise hold or choke?
Is This Really His Last Fight?
Bonnar is no spring chicken, and with the light heavyweight title picture looking the way it does, it's unlikely that he'll be able to fight his way through the mix.
So if he wins, will he walk away?
Beating Anderson Silva would be such a career achievement, such a defining moment, no one should be surprised if Bonnar retired right on the spot.
But what if doesn't? If Bonnar wins at UFC 153, could he actually try to build a longer winning streak off of modern MMA's greatest upset?
How Will UFC and MMA Fans Remember Bonnar?
Some mixed martial arts fans got into the sport because a single fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
It's a night that'll likely never be forgotten by Zuffa and the UFC faithful, but at the end of the day, Bonnar would rather be remembered for being a winner than being an also-ran.
So how will fans remember him after UFC 153?
Stephan Bonnar, a born loser who shocked the MMA world by stopping the un-defeatable Anderson Silva?
Or will he be remembered as Stephan Bonnar, the man who always reached for greatness, but fell short when it mattered most?
After UFC 153, we'll know for sure—but it's pretty obvious which one Bonnar wants.
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