It seems that every time the UFC heads to Brazil something memorable happens, and the case wasn’t any different with UFC 153.
From Anderson Silva’s incredible display of dominance to Demian Maia’s clinical victory over Rick Story, the main card had something for everyone and could be considered among the very best events we’ve seen this year.
UFC 153 didn’t do a lot for the advancement of title contenders or give us a truly significant fight, but it gave us a fun night of fights in which every main card fight ended by stoppage.
While there was a lack of top five fighters this weekend, there was no lack of talent and there was plenty of movement in the bottom half of the top 10 in quite a few divisions.
With UFC 153 finally in the rearview mirror, here’s a look at the post-fight stock report for the main card fighters.
What happened to Rick Story?
Ever since Story dropped a unanimous decision to Charlie Brenneman last June he’s been a shell of his former self inside the cage, and that’s never been as obvious as it was at UFC 153.
Story used to throw around jiu-jitsu guys, and he completely mauled a submission specialist in Dustin Hazelett during the middle of his hot streak he had early in his UFC career, but Maia completely had his way with him on Saturday night.
I’m not sure what it’s going to take, but Story needs to get back on track.
He’s already found himself out of the title picture, and if he struggles any longer he’ll find himself out of a job.
If Maia can take out the rest of the top wrestlers at welterweight like he did Rick Story, we could see the Brazilian jui-jitsu ace fighting for a belt in the very near future.
Maia’s wrestling has always been a bit underrated, (remember the lateral drop he hit on Chael Sonnen?), but he proved he isn’t going to be a pushover at welterweight when he got Story to the floor in under a minute.
From there was a flawless performance, as Maia just handled his business on the ground and quickly secured a fight-ending choke.
I’m not ready to call Maia a title contender yet, but he definitely is becoming a key player to watch in the 170-pound division.
There’s really not much that went right for Wagner Prado.
Phil Davis possesses some of the very best wrestling in the light heavyweight division, and when you throw him in there against a heavy handed striker, that striker better have some takedown defense.
As it turns out, Prado didn’t have an answer.
It wasn’t the worst effort we’ve seen, and Prado showed a lot of grit by getting out of a tight arm triangle shortly before the finish, but it was nowhere close to a UFC-quality performance.
While Phil Davis was impressive in his win over Prado, we have to consider that Davis was supposed to dominate in precisely that fashion.
Davis got a chance to use his wrestling against Prado, and once he got his hands on his Brazilian opponent things got lopsided quickly.
Davis threw Prado around the cage with relative ease, earning big takedown after big takedown, and once he got comfortable on the mat he immediately started working toward submissions.
A beautiful transition into an anaconda choke earned Davis a much needed win, but there wasn’t a whole lot for him to gain in this fight.
Usually a loss in their first high profile bout is enough to kill a prospect, but when you fight as well as Erick Silva did against Jon Fitch, it’s impossible for your stock to drop too much.
Silva was able to make Fitch work for every single takedown he went after, and turned a conventional Fitch fight into a wild and gritty war.
Hopefully the UFC gives Silva a chance to jump back into the deep end sooner rather than later, as he still has a tremendous amount of potential in the welterweight division.
Guess who’s back?
Jon Fitch had a rough 2011, but after sitting out the majority of the last two years with various injuries it appears that the welterweight contender has a revitalized his career in his absence.
Fitch was shockingly a very popular fighter to pick against heading into this fight, and he made sure he’d get the respect he deserves heading into his next fight after getting into a brawl with Erick Silva.
With a good win over one of the top prospects in MMA today, Fitch is still a very dangerous fighter for any welterweight to get the unfortunate assignment of fighting him.
He wasn’t exactly competitive, but then again Fabio Maldonado was the underdog for a reason in this fight.
After blocking the majority of Glover Teixeira’s ground and pound with his face, Maldonado showed off one of the greater displays of heart that we’ve ever seen inside the Octagon.
The amount of punishment Maldonado received was unnerving at points, and although his show of durability was fun to watch, it was a welcome sight when the doctor stopped the fight after the second round.
We can admit it, Glover Teixeira is for real.
Beating Maldonado doesn’t usually enter someone into the top of the division, but the way Teixeira dominated this fight proves he is definitely someone to watch at 205.
The Brazilian prospect is going to get a big step up in competition in his next fight, and if that step up is Rampage Jackson we could get one of the better slug fests of the last few years, especially if Teixeira is willing to let his hands go and trade on the feet.
There was a decent amount of hype following Dave Herman into his Octagon debut last summer, and after a brief show of living up to it against John Olav Einemo, Herman has struggled greatly against the upper tier of fighters in the UFC.
Three straight losses to Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and Nogueira have Herman on the brink of being released from his UFC contract, and if he hadn’t taken this fight on just one month’s notice I’m not sure he would get another shot.
As much as I wanted to be impressed by Minotauro’s win over Dave Herman, I just can’t help but notice that Nogueira is nowhere near where he needs to be in order to compete with the best in the division.
After seeing the Pride legend lose three of his last five fights in devastating fashion, it’s becoming a bit hard to watch Nogueira fight, as you’re always waiting for something bad to happen.
Nogueira’s going to fight again, but at this point he should be fighting for fun and not really worrying about getting back into title contention unless it happens to become a possibility.
Fights with guys like Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva could be fun, but let's keep him away from the new breed of heavyweight contenders.
You really can’t bump Stephan Bonnar’s stock down after losing to Silva.
He went out there and fought hard, but the moment Silva started letting Bonnar impose his game plan it was clear the fighters were in completely separate leagues.
If Bonnar decides to hang up his gloves after getting his 15 minutes, that’s totally cool, but I wouldn’t have a problem with him coming back and giving the fans one last war, either.
It’s hard to imagine Anderson Silva losing a fight at this point.
Every time he steps into the cage he does something incredible, and at this point it feels like he’s fighting on a completely different level than everyone else in the world.
When a fighter is seemingly in the matrix every time he starts to trade punches, it becomes a bit unfair.
Silva is the best fighter on the planet and he just keeps on getting better. If he gets his desired fight against Georges St-Pierre, we’ll be in for the biggest fight in MMA history.