A group of sportsnet.ca MMA contributors give their predictions for UFC 153′s top six fights.
Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar
E. Spencer Kyte: Silva by TKO, Round 3. I think this will be Silva’s toughest LHW test to date, but that’s not saying much. He’s too calculating, accurate, and dangerous to not get by Bonnar. While “The American Psycho” will hang tough, I’m thinking Silva will finish him with string of shots, probably from in close, maybe even the clinch a la Rich Franklin. Some assortment of elbows and knees will be the end of Bonnar’s ” never been finished” run.
Ryan Young: Silva by decision. The obvious choice here is Silva by TKO, but I think the champ may be more reserved with his attack than usual. Add that in with the fact that it’s a 15-minute fight and Bonnar can take a punch, and I see the makings of a one-sided decision.
Trevor Dueck: Silva by decision. People are too quick to count Bonnar out of this fight. Last time I checked this was MMA. A relaxed fighter with nothing to lose is a very dangerous fighter. That said, I believe Silva wins this fight, but Bonnar will show a ton of heart. We want a crazy knockout but what I predict we will see is a frustrated and gassed Silva winning by unanimous decision.
Brad Taschuk: Silva by TKO (knees from the clinch), Round 2. Let’s set the record straight about Stephan Bonnar here. Not only has he never beaten a top 10 fighter, he hasn’t even fought a guy who was in the top 10 at the time. He has no business being in the cage with Anderson Silva. I expect that Bonnar will come forward, fail to get a takedown on Silva, and then proceed to get the Rich Franklin treatment en route to his first TKO loss not coming via doctor stoppage.
Carlin Bardsley: Silva by TKO (roundhouse kick), Round 1. I expect this fight to be incredibly fun for the short time it lasts. I’m going to make a bold prediction and say Silva goes full Chuck Norris on Bonnar.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Silva by unanimous decision. I think Bonnar is on a mission to go the distance, and that will be the story in this one. Remember Ali-Chuvalo!
Mike Johnston: Silva by TKO: We could see some more fancy kicks and laser-punches from The Spider, but I expect him to throw some interesting elbows and finish the fight with knees. He wants to put on a show for his countrymen.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dave Herman
E. Spencer Kyte: Nogueira by TKO, Round 2. Herman has the potential to pull off the upset, but I think this one plays out like Nogueira’s fight with Brendan Schaub. He’ll get hit early, but capitalize on his younger opponent getting over-confident, and get the finish.
Ryan Young: Nogueira by submission. Nogueira should be able to win this fight however he’d like to. They will strike to get started but then how does “Minotauro” not try to submit somebody who doesn’t believe in jiu-jitsu?
Trevor Dueck: Nogueira by submission. Herman can win this fight if he gets on Big Nog early. Ring rust, past injuries and overall MMA mileage on Nogueira might give Herman the advantage if he is super aggressive right off the hop. If Big Nog gets into a groove on his feet with his crisp boxing or if he gets Herman to the ground, it will be the end of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
Brad Taschuk: Nogueira by submission, Round 2. Dave Herman is one of the biggest flakes in MMA. He gets tired, he doesn’t fight with any sort of strategy, and when things don’t go his way he has a tendency to quit. Against Nogueira, who is shopworn at this point — but not in the sense that his chin has completely deserted him — things are not likely to go Herman’s way. Aside from wrestling, Nogueira is technically superior in every aspect and should be able to assert himself as the fight wears on and Herman tires.
Carlin Bardsley: Nogueira by submission, Round 1. Jiu-jitsu works. Much to Dave Herman’ chagrin.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Nogueira by unanimous decision. Herman is just a tiny step below in every aspect of the game. Big Nog won’t impress, but he will win.
Mike Johnston: Herman by TKO. Pee Wee has the ability to keep the fight standing and if he uses his kicks and knees effectively I can see him surprising Big Nog and silencing the crowd.
Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado
E. Spencer Kyte: Teixeira by Submission, Round 1. Teixeira is going to get fast-tracked into contention, and this will be another brief stop on his way to the top of the division. Teixeira exposes the holes in Maldonado’s defence, puts him on the ground, and chokes him out.
Ryan Young: Teixeira by TKO. Maldonado has a lot of stones stepping up and taking this fight. Some think his boxing prowess gives him a shot in this matchup, but Teixeira’s ferocity in the stand-up and decisive advantage on the ground will make him an easy victor.
Trevor Dueck: Teixeira by TKO. This could end up being one of Teixeira’s toughest fights to date, because Maldonado is very strong on his feet. However, Glover’s power and better overall skill set should secure him the victory, but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as a lot of people are saying.
Brad Taschuk: Teixeira by decision. Fabio Maldonado has a habit of turning his fights into brawls, and I see this bout being no different in the early going. The difference here is that Teixeira has a far more dangerous ground game than anyone Maldonado has faced in his UFC tenure, and while his pre-fight talk has been all about going for the knockout, he isn’t afraid to take it to the ground.
Carlin Bardsley: Teixeira by TKO, Round 2. Maldonado’s got good boxing, but there’s a reason no one wants to fight Glover. I expect Glover to keep the heat on Maldonado before sending him to dreamland.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Teixeira by TKO, Round 1. Maldonado will please the fans by standing and trading right off the opening bell, and that will be his end.
Mike Johnston: Maldonado by decision. Maldonado is relentless and his boxing is the best in all of MMA. All the hype surrounding Teixeira could be stopped if Maldonado brings his A-game.
Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva
E. Spencer Kyte: Fitch by unanimous decision. Love this fight, and think we see a return to the Jon Fitch of old, even though Fitch himself is saying he’s going to be more aggressive and entertaining. Either way, I think he’s just too experienced for Silva at this point.
Ryan Young: Fitch by decision. In what’s probably the hardest fight to predict on the card, wily UFC veteran Jon Fitch returns to the Octagon to do what he does best — grind. In pre-fight interviews he’s said he needs to win impressively, but holding down an explosive striker such as Silva for 15 minutes is impressive enough in my books.
Trevor Dueck: Silva by decision. Fitch needs to fight his game and call upon the toughness and grinding style of fighting that made him notoriously boring but extremely successful. A vintage Fitch can win this fight, but the younger more explosive Silva could give Fitch fits. In what is a coin flip of a fight, I’m taking Silva.
Brad Taschuk: Fitch by decision. This fight is all about the proven commodity against the guy who has shown tons of potential against extremely flawed opponents. I have to go with the proven fighter, as Fitch brings the type of grinding style that it seems will take to derail the Erick Silva hype train.
Carlin Bardsley: Silva by TKO, Round 1. I see this fight ending suddenly and violently. And since Fitch never wins in that fashion, that leaves Silva to continue his march up the 170-pound ranks.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Fitch by unanimous decision. Like it or not, the old Jon Fitch will return to get the win.
Mike Johnston: Silva by decision. The young Brazilian could be on the defensive since Fitch presses forward, but he has the athleticism to thwart that and the skills to do damage.
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado
E. Spencer Kyte: Davis by decision. I have no idea why people have gotten down on Davis. He’s still one of the best young contenders in the LHW division, and should dominate Prado here.
Ryan Young: Davis by decision. Davis didn’t resort to his wrestling in their shortened first encounter, but he will this time around. The only question is whether he can finish the fight on the ground, a feat I’m leaning towards no.
Trevor Dueck: Davis by submission. The first time these two fought there was a feeling out process which led to Davis feeling out Prado’s eyeball. However, in that one minute of action it appeared Davis was going to be patient while Prado was aggressive with his striking. Davis will find a way to take Wagner down and when it does happen it will be over.
Brad Taschuk: Davis by submission, Round 2. Many people seem to be down on Davis based on the 88 seconds of fighting these two had in August, but I see this as the exact same fight. Prado is the more dangerous striker, but he is still vastly overmatched in the wrestling and grappling departments.
Carlin Bardsley: Davis by decision. I see Davis grinding down Prado with his superior wrestling and maintaining top control for the majority of the fight.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Davis by unanimous decision. His wrestling will simply be too much for Prado and Davis will stay active enough to inflict some damage.
Mike Johnston: Davis by decision. It’s pretty simple. Davis’ wrestling will be the difference. He has the tools to win anywhere but he will go back to his roots.
Demian Maia vs. Rick Story
E. Spencer Kyte: Maia by Submission, Round 1. Lost in the odd finish of Maia’s debut is the fact that he was able to take Dong Hyun Kim’s back and off-balance him in under a minute. We’re back to the aggressive, early UFC days Demian Maia, and he’ll show that again here.
Ryan Young: Maia by decision. Similar to the Davis/Prado fight in that Maia will likely try to take it to the mat and work for submissions. The difference? Maia isn’t just a better grappler than Story he’s also been more impressive striking as well. I like the Brazilian to cakewalk to an easy decision.
Trevor Dueck: Story by TKO. I believe after a couple of losses, Story has another big win in him. If Story can lay on the pressure and keep the fight standing he could make quick work of Maia. If the fight goes to the ground, it’s end of Story. See what I did there? In what will be a close fight, a new chapter will be written for Story.
Brad Taschuk: Story by decision. Maia’s welterweight debut left just as many questions as it gave answers, namely about his cardio and durability. Until I see Maia prove that he hasn’t suffered physically by moving down 15 pounds, I can’t feel confident picking him in a fight like this.
Carlin Bardsley: Maia by submission, Round 2. Maia hasn’t won by submission in almost four years. He’s due.
Dwight Wakabayashi: Maia by submission, Round 2. Story will get reckless and careless in the second and Maia will find the opening.
Mike Johnston: Maia by decision: The jiu-jitsu wizard was able to control bigger guys at middleweight and even though Story is stronger than most at 170 pounds Maia should grind this one out.