UFC 153: October 13, 2012 HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Three-round light heavyweight bout UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (-1350) Profile: The top pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet today is Anderson Silva. “The Spider” holds UFC records for the most consecutive title defenses (10) and the most consecutive wins (15) while earning multiple Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night awards during his career. The 37-year-old Brazilian can and will do anything in the cage, although he has been criticized in the past for not putting on enough of a show for the fans. That has changed in his past few bouts though, starting with his remarkable comeback win against top middleweight contender Chael Sonnen in their epic fight at UFC 117. He followed that up by destroying Vitor Belfort in the first round with a front kick knockout and then dominating Sonnen’s training partner Yushin Okami in Brazil at UFC 134 with a second-round TKO. Silva then welcomed Sonnen for a highly-anticipated rematch with a chip on his shoulder after his narrow escape in the first meeting, ending their fight at UFC 148 in the second round via TKO. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Stephan Bonnar (+850) Profile: The famous runner-up of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter to Forrest Griffin and part of what UFC president Dana White calls “the most important fight in UFC history”‘against Griffin, Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar (14-7) needs an introduction to only a few MMA fans. Although he has fought with less frequency over the last few years, Bonnar is still a game opponent for any fighter. He is a massive light heavyweight and part of the old school, mentored by the legendary Carlson Gracie, who awarded him a black belt in BJJ. The 35-year-old veteran is always willing to bang and put on a show for the fans, win or lose, and coming out of his unofficial retirement to take on UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva on short notice in Brazil at UFC 153 proves just that. Bonnar is currently riding a three-fight winning streak following a three-bout skid and could officially call it a career and ride into the sunset for good regardless of whether or not he pulls off a shocking upset of Silva. Opening UFC 153 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Silva a mammoth -1350 favorite (bet $1,350 to win $100) against Bonnar, who opened as an extra-large +850 underdog (bet $100 to win $850) according to the MMA odds. After the craziness that surrounded the implosion of the infamous UFC 151 card and more injuries to Jose Aldo and Rampage Jackson that blew up the UFC 153 main event and co-main event, respectively, somebody needed to step up to save it. Enter Silva and Bonnar, who will take over as the main event in Brazil in what looks to be one of the strangest matchups in UFC history. Bonnar will be the third light heavyweight opponent for Silva, as he defeated both Griffin and James Irvin by first-round knockout between 2008-09. UFC president Dana White wants Silva to face welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre next, so this bout will allow the middleweight pecking order to sort itself out by the year and also make that superfight happen assuming GSP beats interim champ Carlos Condit at UFC 154 on November 17. The only other opponent that possibly looms for Silva down the road besides St. Pierre or another middleweight could be light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, which would obviously create another superfight that could cement him as the best MMA fighter of all-time if he is not already. For Bonnar, nothing that happens in this bout will hurt his career. If anything, it will just put an exclamation point on his legacy and only validates his nickname of “The American Psycho” regardless of the result.
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