What a night of action that UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar delivered to us from Rio. From the prelims to the main event, this was definitely a Card of the Year candidate.
Of course, anytime you can see such legends as Andrson Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, along with up-and-coming stars like Glover Teixeira and Phil Davis compete, you are almost assured of seeing something special.
So, now that the dust has settled on the event, what’s in store for those main card fighters that competed? Let’s take a look:
Jon Jones? Georges St-Pierre? Chris Weidman? The options appear to be plenty for Silva, as “The Spider” added to his legacy with a stoppage victory over Stephan Bonnar. Silva has mentioned wanting a super-fight with GSP, while others have already started to push for a Silva-Jones match. UFC president Dana White even said he can make Silva-Jones very rich by getting them to agree to fight. So, who will it be for the Brazilian? My two-cents are on St-Pierre. Silva knows he would be an underdog vs. Jones, but the favorite vs. GSP. He has mentioned wanting to finish undefeated in the UFC, and if he agrees to face “Bones,” that isn’t happening. If Silva waits to compete again at middleweight, pair Weidman (assuming he gets past Tim Boetsch) up with Michael Bisping and have the winner of that contest meet Silva later in 2013.
For Bonnar, how about that spot on the Fuel TV announce/broadcast team? “The American Psycho” is one of the most in-the-known fighters out there, and he has proven that with a mic in hand, he can deliver. Bonnar wanted one more chance to make a mark on the sport, and he gave it everything. Now is the time for him to begin his second career outside the Octagon.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
“Minotauro” might have been looked at as a former fighter hoping to make one final stand, but he’s more than that. Nogueira delivered vs. Dave Herman, exciting the Brazilian crowd and proving that he still has some gas in the tank. While a title run may be off the radar, Nogueira can still entertain and fight, making him a perfect challenger for Stefan Struve, who is riding high right now. If Nogueira can finish Struve, he’ll position himself for a potential run at the belt. And if he falls, he has given Struve a resume-building win to go forward on.
How about Travis Browne for Mr. Herman? Both are coming off a loss, and while Herman is more in need of a victory, he did offer to step in and fight a legend like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on short notice – in his backyard. Browne will be on the sidelines for an extended period due to a hamstring injury, so if Herman is more impatient and wants to fight sooner rather than later, pair him up with Stipe Miocic. This way, the UFC can continue to clear the lower part of the heavyweight division.
If Quinton “Rampage” Jackson gets his way, he will be the next opponent for Teixeira after informing UFC president Dana White that he wants the match re-scheduled after having to pull out. This bout still makes sense, as it would help build Teixeira’s credibility inside the Octagon. If for some reason the UFC doesn’t wish to grant Jackson this fight, give him the winner of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua-Alexander Gustafsson. That could make for a great No. 1 contender match in the 205-pound division.
Jon Fitch/Demian Maia
These two both made a strong statement in the welterweight division in Rio, as Fitch stopped the Erick Silva express, while Maia improved to 2-0 in the weight class by downing Rick Story. So, why not just make things easier and pair them off? Fitch showed that, when healthy, he is still an elite fighter. Maia, meanwhile, is one of the most accomplished submission fighters in the UFC. Oh, and by the way, Fitch is perfect when it comes to fighting off submissions, so there is a great storyline to build around.
Davis had no trouble picking apart Wagner Prado with his excellent wrestling, scoring a submission win via anaconda choke – the same move he used to hand Alexander Gustafsson his lone career loss. Davis is in a tough position right now, as the division has several matches booked. His loss to Rashad Evans exposed some holes, so why not pair him up with Ryan Bader? The two were accomplished wrestlers, but have each improved leaps and bounds. Also, the winner would be in a nice spot to fight a top contender next time out.