Thoughts From Across The Pond 10.12.12: Rocky VII: Silva vs. Bonnar
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I made my return to Fact or Fiction this week to take part in the epic rematch you’ve obviously all been clamouring for. Yes, it’s Watt vs. Rella II and, following the draw in our first contest, we’re both desperate for a win this time around. So ignore my proof-reading error on question 4 and focus instead on the hilarity of my bonus question answer, and vote for me to win. Please.
UFC 153: The Greatest, The Underdog & The Success Of The Hype Machine
On Saturday night the UFC returns to Brazil, for the third time in 2012, to present what promises to be a fun night of fights.
That the UFC have managed to cobble together such a prospectively good event when just four weeks ago the company was presented with what seemed an unsalvageable situation, is a testament to their commitment and their experience. The multitude of fighters who stepped up on short notice to save the UFC 153 card also deserve an immense amount of credit. Indeed, after the UFC 151 debacle featuring protagonists Jon Jones, Greg Jackson and Dana White, it was nice to see how swiftly the issues with the card in Rio were rectified.
It remains a significant disappointment that we won’t get to see the dream featherweight title fight between José Aldo and Frankie Edgar this weekend, but this is tempered somewhat when you remember that we will get to witness, in the eyes of many, the greatest Mixed Martial Artist in the sport’s history, compete inside the Octagon tomorrow night.
And that fact is almost exclusively what the UFC has promoted this fight on.
Last week I discussed my feeling that the UFC has not done everything it could have done to promote its newest weight class, the flyweight division, over the course of 2012. A lack of promotion, however, is not something that could be levelled at Silva vs. Bonnar. With just 29 days to make fans invest in a fight – the outcome of which many feel is a foregone conclusion – the UFC have done a phenomenal job.
The fact is that any opportunity to witness the peerless Silva compete inside the Octagon is a privilege. At the age of 37, “The Spider” cannot have many more fights left in him and we should savour these moments while we can. The UFC are very aware of this too, with promo videos such as the “He’s Amazing” highlight reel package hammering home that point by showcasing the numerous acts of violence the Brazilian has delivered inside the eight-sided cage.
The UFC, however, have done more than this. Where the production crew have really excelled is in planting the seed of hope that maybe, just maybe, fans will bear witness to the biggest upset in the history of the sport if they purchase the Pay Per View tomorrow evening.
Remember, Stephan Bonnar is a very popular fighter in the eyes of UFC fans. As many have noted already – and expect to hear it parroted numerous more times prior to tomorrow night’s fight – the UFC would not be the juggernaut that it is today were it not for the epic brawl between Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. Indeed, I would venture that many of you reading this column would have little to no interest in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts had it not been for the classic contest that Bonnar and Griffin waged in the Cox Pavillion at the inaugural finale of The Ultimate Fighter.
Unlike the man who (somewhat controversially) defeated him that night, Bonnar’s success in the UFC has been very limited. He has always put on entertaining brawls due to his willingness to trade punches, his iron chin and his never say die attitude, but he has not achieved anything close to what many of his fellow contestants on TUF 1 have since their time on the show. Corny though it sounds, tomorrow night in Rio de Janeiro, Stephan Bonnar has the chance to change all of that in just fifteen minutes.
Mixed Martial Arts fans have witnessed some dramatic upsets in their time. The Matt Serra overhand right which stopped Georges St. Pierre’s first welterweight title reign. The solitary tap on the leg of Fabricio Werdum which signalled the end to Fedor Emelianenko’s 28 fight unbeaten run. If “The American Psycho” were to defeat “The Spider” in Brazil, however, it would surely be the greatest upset of them all.
It is that hope which has fan anticipation at a remarkable high for this fight. It is understandable too. Just a few weeks ago, the very idea of this contest seemed absurd but now, on the back of the UFC hype machine, it feels as though we are witnessing a real-life Rocky moment. Can Bonnar achieve what Sylvester Stallone’s character did in the Boxing drama and go the distance? Could “The American Psycho” perhaps even draw some inspiration from the very bout which inspired that film – Muhammed Ali vs. Charles Wepner – and survive until the last round of the fight? Or could the impossible actually happen; could Bonnar defeat the greatest of all time?
These are the questions which many MMA fans will be tuning in to see answered on Saturday night. Others will just be happy to once again watch the master, Anderson Silva, at work. Whichever your stance, UFC 153 is now a must see event. And that may be the biggest surprise of all.
Quotes of the Week
“I don’t think it’s satisfying. It kind of grosses me out. I tell everybody, it kind of feels like tearing apart a turkey with a crotch. It really does. It’s gross. When you’re trying to get a turkey thing off and you feel all the cartilage and the tendons and the bones coming off, when you’re pulling it, it really is that exact feeling. It’s gross.” – Ronda Rousey on what it feels like to snap an arm.
“They said in what world does it make sense? Me or Stephan Bonnar, it would have been a big laughing matter or a joke, but that’s what’s happening now. I think if I was Anderson Silva and I’m on my way out of this and I’m 37, I’m looking to do a few more fights like that, I want to fulfill my legacy and I’m not going to be able to do it with Stephan Bonnar.” – Nick Diaz thinks Dana White is a hypocrite.
“So here’s the deal. I have been working since 11am to get him out of jail. the people in Iowa hate this kid and are going to stick it to him for SURE. Everytime I would cut a deal for bail they would change the deal and I was willing to do anything. They kept changing the deal thinking I would tapout and when I didn’t they left me hangin changing it every 5 mins. People at Minn Sheriffs Dept were amazing and I want to thank them. He has been in town since Monday and they arrested him Friday at 11am for a reason to really fuck him. I literally just told Yves he wasn’t fighting 35 mins ago. He is a TRUE OLD SCHOOL PRO who waited all night for us to try and get Jeremy here!!!!! It is a pleasure being in biz with u Yves. So I wanted u the fans to hear it from me first.” – Dana White discusses the unfortunate Jeremy Stephen’s arrest via forums and bad spelling.
“Vitor took the fight on short notice, and this is how you respect him, by kicking his knee backwards and stuff like that? He’s supposed to be a man of God. You can injure somebody, you can sever their career. You can mess people up for life kicking their knee back like that and he does it repeatedly, over and over. To me that has no honor. I take a lot of honor in fighting. He has no honor… [Jones is] fake. I don’t agree with his fighting style. I think I could beat Jon Jones. I know I can beat him. Jon Jones is the type of guy you have to fight twice.” – So Quinton “Rampage” Jackson‘s respect for Jon Jones didn’t last long did it?
“Jones definitely got a raw deal. All of the onus, all of it, was put on his shoulders. Everything. What about the co-main event? What about bringing in other guys? What about the guys getting injured? There was a lot. To place everything on his shoulders, I think, was very unfair. He’s fully within his rights to turn down a fight.” – Benson Henderson weighs in on that whole UFC 151 cancellation thing.
Pound for Pound Rankings
The No. 1 pound for pound fighter on the planet makes his return to the light heavyweight division this weekend. Will “The Spider” pick up his sixteenth consecutive UFC win or will Stephan Bonnar pull off the biggest upset in Mixed Martial Arts history and defeat Anderson Silva in Brazil?
1. Anderson Silva (30-4)
2. Jon Jones (17-1)
3. José Aldo (21-1)
4. Georges St. Pierre (22-2)
5. Dominick Cruz (19-1)
6. Benson Henderson (17-2)
7. Junior Dos Santos (15-1)
8. Frankie Edgar (14-3-1)
9. Dan Henderson (29-8)
10. Carlos Condit (28-5)
11. Demetrious Johnson (16-2-1)
12. Gilbert Melendez (21-2)
13. Rashad Evans (17-2-1)
14. Renan Barão (29-1, 1NC)
15. Cain Velasquez (10-1)
And that’ll do it for another week.
I’ll be back next week with my thoughts on UFC 153 and more.
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Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or feedback please leave them below or message me on twitter. Cheers.