To the surprise of few, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva easily disposed of light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar in the first round of the main event at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.
After standing at the fence to dodge Bonnar's punches early in the round, Silva pounced. He landed a knee to Bonnar's chest, then followed up with ground and pound until the fight was stopped in the first round.
"I'm not the best. I just do things that people think are impossible," Silva said after the fight. "I'm not going to fight at 205 again. I fought at 205 to save the event."
Silva and Bonnar took this fight on short notice after UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was injured and had to pull out of UFC 153. Silva moved up in weight, which meant questions about his intentions to fight at a bigger weight class.
Earlier in the night, Dave Herman said in his pre-fight video that jiu-jitsu doesn't work. He may want to rethink that stance after being submitted by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second round.
In the second round, Nogueira grappled to get Herman close to a submission, but Herman defended each hold. But late in the round, Nogueira used beautiful jiu-jitsu to maneuver Herman into an armbar that he couldn't get out of. Herman tapped at 4:31 of the second round, giving Nogueira the win.
"I feel so happy, because this man said jiu-jitsu doesn't work. But jiu-jitsu does work. Jiu-jitsu is Brazilian. Jiu-jitsu is an art," Nogueira said.
This was Nogueira's first fight since his arm was broken by Frank Mir at UFC 140. He had surgery and intense physical therapy to rehabilitate his arm, giving him a chance to win in front of a home crowd in Rio de Janeiro.
As expected, Glover Teixeira dominated Fabio Maldonado on the way to an early stoppage win. But what wasn't expected was how Maldonado stood in for 10 minutes of straight punishment.
Teixeira knocked Maldonado down early in the first round, and proceeded to ground and pound him in a full mount for most of the round. With his face badly swollen and bruised, Maldonado managed to work his way back to his feet. Though wobbly, he did managed to punch Teixeira with a big enough punch to send him reeling, but it was the last show of offense from Maldonado.
Teixeira dominated the second round in the same way. Maldonado's face was bruised and bleeding. The doctor checked the cut halfway through the round and let the fight continue. He checked again at the end of the second, and mercifully stopped the fight.
"He is not human! I told [trainer] John Hackleman in the locker room that I was going to knock this guy out. This guy got knocked down, and he held on. He is not human," Teixeira said.
Jon Fitch showed he was anything but boring in a decision win that stopped hot prospect Erick Silva. The judges saw it 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Fitch.
Fitch used grappling to control Silva in the first round, but things got interesting in the second. Silva took Fitch's back and sunk in a rear--naked choke. It was the kind of choke that would stop most fighters, but Fitch survived. When Fitch maneuvered out of the choke, he took top position, waylaid Silva with strikes, then worked his grappling game.
In the last 30 seconds of the second round, Fitch took Silva's back then transitioned to an armbar. Though Silva got out, the round clearly took its toll on Silva, the much younger fighter. The third round featured Fitch taking advantage of a clearly tired Silva. It was Fitch's ground and pound at its best. He landed 108 ground strikes throughout the bout.
"I didn't have a choice. I would have beaten anyone tonight. Any weight class. I needed a win. My family needed a win," Fitch said after the bout.
Their first fight ended quickly with a no contest after an unintentional eye poke stopped Wagner Prado. This time, it was all Phil Davis, as he outgrappled Prado for two rounds. Davis used his high-level wrestling skills to control Prado and stymie any shot at striking that the young fighter may have. In the second round, Davis was close to getting an arm triangle when he transitioned to an anaconda choke. Prado tapped at 4:29.
"Normally I'm the young lion coming in, but it's a different feeling getting in the gym, knowing someone like Wagner Prado is coming to knock your block off," Davis said after the fight.
Demian Maia started off the pay-per-view with a submission that showed his world-class submission skills. Maia had Rick Story in a a rear-naked choke in the first round, but had trouble getting his elbow underneath Story's chin. He then switch to crank Story's neck. Though Story tried to hold out, blood trickled out of his nose and he tapped at 2:30 in the first round.
UFC 153 highlights on Yahoo! Sports:
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