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Five huge questions going into UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar

Photo by Kristyn Adamakis for ProMMAnow.com

We are coming up on the third UFC event in as many weeks with UFC 153 taking place Saturday night in Brazil. The event will be headlined by UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva as he moves back up to the light heavyweight division to fight TUF 1 finalist Stephan Bonnar.

The original main event between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar was scrapped due to injuries as was the co-main event between Glover Teixeira and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. It’s still a pretty interesting event on paper with some very meaningful fights for certain fighters on the event. It probably won’t do huge PPV numbers, but their should some exciting fights. Let’s get to the questions:

Will Erick Silva beat perennial top ten welterweight Jon Fitch to become a legitimate contender?

Silva is (2-1) in the UFC with the loss being a disqualification(terrible call by referee) for strikes to the back of the head. He was victorious in running through Charlie Brenneman in his last UFC outing in June by submitting the wrestling based fighter in the first round earning “Submission of the Night” honors. Fitch is of the same mold as Brenneman but probably a better wrestler and has fought much better competition. Fitch was ranked as the number two welterweight in the world for years before getting knocked out by Johny Hendricks in his last outing at UFC 141. It’ll be a very long layoff for Fitch who was coming off a surgery prior to the Hendricks fight. Actually, he has only fought twice in the past two years with the other bout being a majority draw against B.J. Penn. A win for Silva certainly puts him among the top ten best welterweights in the world.

Will Stephan Bonnar be able to go the distance with Anderson Silva?

Quite simply, Bonnar is one of the largest betting underdogs in MMA history. You have a journeyman fighter taking on arguably the best MMA fighter of all time who hasn’t lost in his last 16 fights in Anderson Silva. Bonnar has about a 5-10% chance of winning this fight, basically a puncher’s chance even though he only has three wins via TKO/KO. However, he’ll be the larger fighter of the two but I think the more interesting question is can Bonnar go the distance with Silva? Bonnar has never been knocked out in his MMA career with all seven of his losses coming via decision. Silva has won both of his previous light heavyweight bouts via TKO/KO.

Will Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira return to form against Dave Herman?

Nogueira is coming off a lengthy layoff recovering from having his arm broken by Frank Mir at UFC 140. He’s arguably the second greatest heavyweight of all time. Nogueira had Mir in all sorts of trouble, stunning the former champion with punches before allowing his pride(no pun intended) to cloud his judgement and go for the submission win instead of finishing him via TKO. He seems to have developed more punching power with age as he almost decapitated Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 with punches. Herman has suffered back-to-back TKO/KO losses and is probably on the verge of being cut from the organization with another loss. Nogueira could insert himself back into the heavyweight mix with a win against Herman. It should be noted that Nogueira trains with the current champion Junior dos Santos and they’ll probably never fight one another.

Will Glover Teixeira continue to make noise in the light heavyweight division in his second UFC fight?

Teixeira will be making his second UFC appearance against decimating Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146. Teixeira is a fighter that is well known by hardcore MMA fans and a fighter that should have been in the UFC a long time ago, but visa issues delayed his arrival by three years. Teixeira is known as a fighter with good power and a very good ground game. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones desperately needs new challengers and Teixeira certainly could fit the bill with a couple more impressive wins. The UFC was trying get him some instant credibility with casual fans when they matched him up with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but Jackson had to pull out of the bout due to injuries. A win over Jackson would have certainly opened the eyes of many even though Jackson is clearly not the fighter he was a couple of years ago. Teixeria will take on the tough and underrated Fabio Maldonado in the co-main event. Maldonado has very good boxing and goes to the body very well while showing an outstanding chin and good takedown defense. While it’s a fight that won’t garner huge hype for Teixeira should he win, but it’s a tough fight that will tell us a lot more about where Teixeira is as a fighter.

Will Demian Maia announce his presence in the welterweight division with a win over Rick Story?

Maia made his welterweight debut with a quick win over Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148. However, it was an empty win as Kim was injured just 47 seconds into the bout and the fight had to be stopped. Maia was a long time top ten middleweight before making the move down to the welterweight division. He’ll be taking on the always tough Rick Story who has made some noise in the welterweight division and giving top contenders very tough fights. He’s the type of fighter that Maia has fought several times in that he’s decent everywhere, but Maia will have the clear edge should the fight goto the ground. Story is a tough kid, but a win for Maia certainly puts him on the short track to top ten welterweights.

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