MANILA, Philippines – Brazilian fighters Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira gave local mixed martial arts (MMA) fans a thrill as they defeated their respective opponents at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila).
Silva, the UFC’s middleweight champion, moved up to light heavyweight for the first time August 2009 and had little trouble finishing off UFC veteran Stephan Bonnar in the main event in front of an wild crowd at the HSBC Center.
Bonnar held a huge size advantage against Silva but it barely mattered, as the middleweight champion toyed with him en route to a first-round technical knockout victory.
Bonnar tried going to his ground game early in the fight, but Silva easily defended his takedowns. When Bonnar gave up trying to go for the takedown, Silva willingly stayed with his back against the cage as he baited Bonnar into attacking him.
The UFC veteran obliged as he unloaded a few punches, but Silva just evaded his shots. Silva then went to work, tripping Bonnar and then hitting him with a knee to the solar plexus that dropped the veteran.
Bonnar crumpled to the ground and Silva swarmed, hitting Bonnar with punches until the referee stopped the fight at the 4:40 mark of the very first round.
With his victory, Silva extended his winning streak to 16 fights, a UFC record.
“I’m not the best, I’m not the best,” Silva said after the fight. “I just believe I can do things that people think are impossible.”
UFC fans had hoped that Silva’s decision to fight at light heavyweight will mean that he is open to fighting the division’s champion, Jon “Bones” Jones, but the “Spider” quickly quashed their hopes.
“No, I’m not gonna fight at 205 again. I fought at 205 to save the event. I was just doing this to save the event and put on a show for everybody,” Silva said.
Meanwhile, “Big Nog” basked in the love from the Rio crowd after submitting Dave Herman via armbar in the second round.
Herman was able to hit Nogueira with kicks to the leg and body, but the Brazilian walked through most of his attacks.
In the second round, Nogueira crushed Herman with a right hand to the jaw that dropped him. “Big Nog” tried to submit Herman via an americana, but Herman was able to roll over. Nogueira was persistent, however, and eventually locked in an armbar.
Even though Herman was able to escape the submission, Nogueira kept trying to get the tap and was eventually able to take Herman to the ground. “Big Nog” then went for another armbar, and despite Herman’s best efforts, he was forced to submit.
It was Nogueira’s first fight since undergoing surgery last year to repair a broken arm.
Another Brazilian, Glover Teixeira, dominated in the undercard as he completely routed Fabio Maldonado in a light heavyweight clash.
Teixeira was in control right from the opening bell, though Maldonado was able to survive the first round. He sustained more punishment in the second, however, leading the ringside doctor to call a stop to the fight.