UFC: Bonnar gets the fight of his life
Stephan Bonnar has long campaigned for some “big fights” before he inevitably calls time on a storied career. Back in May he suggested a trilogy bout with fellow TUF 1 alum Forrest Griffin but this was subsequently rejected by the UFC brass. In the last couple of years he has continuously put himself forward for other high profile bouts, company man that he is, all to no avail. On Wednesday night however, it was revealed that Bonnar will have his day in the sun, only it’s not the type of date most fighters would envy. In an admittedly novel match-up Bonnar will headline next month’s UFC 153 against Anderson Silva.
Some might say it’s an illogical match-making but like a pint of the black stuff the bout really is an acquired taste. I’ve been tossing and turning this one in my mind for almost 48 hours and rest assured it grows on you. Bonnar’s on a three fight win streak, which is more than passable in the modern day light heavyweight division. He hasn’t been in a boring fight in years and fears absolutely no-one. So much so that he is prepared to fight the reigning middleweight champ, a man who hasn’t tasted defeat in almost seven years, a man few would even contemplate fighting on a mere four weeks notice. Yet Bonnar is now preparing for the fight of his life. I for one am starting to quite like this “Pride like” main event.
The Indiana scrapper fights with an abandon and urgency which is becoming increasingly rare in top tier MMA. He is prepared to “take one in order to give one” and whilst this may be the sure road to defeat against “The Spider”, it will be interesting stuff whilst it lasts. With the recent spate of injuries, cards match ups are being made as much out of necessity as in adherence to a system of ranking or perceived merit. Is this such a bad thing? Whilst it may not be ideal, the situation has thrown up not only Bonnar against Silva but also Vitor Belfort versus Jon Jones and Big Nog against Dave Herman. All of the aforementioned are fun fights and all came about in the midst of a raft of pull-outs. Are we as MMA fans becoming too concerned with rankings, title consequences and perceived pecking orders? Maybe. I for one am more than looking forward to Rio on October 13th. Bonnar has opened as a huge underdog. He may feel the need to get into the wrestling room pronto as takedowns and ground and pound may be his only hope in what could be the swansong of a guts and glory seven-year UFC stint.
Stann fine tunes his wrestling for clash with “The Count”
It has emerged that Brian Stann has been training with two time All-American Raymond Jordan prior to his meeting with our own Michael Bisping. Stann obviously intends to eradicate the holes in his game which were so cruelly exposed by Chael Sonnen last October. He knows Bisping won’t rush into a fire-fight like Alessio Sakara did in Stockholm. He also will know from talking to Sonnen (the pair are good friends) that “The Count’s” wrestling isn’t at all shabby. Stann may well find himself repeatedly relying on his defensive wrestling in the white heat of Toronto. Next Saturday night can’t come quick enough! Whilst on the topic of upcoming middleweight pairings check out my preview in The Asahi Shimbun of UFC Macao featuring Rich Franklin and Cung Le,
TUF India on its way
The UFC has announced this week the airing of the inaugural TUF India. Speaking at its launch Lorenzo Fertitia stated: “TUF India will help to introduce the sport in India, to showcase the hard work, dedication, athleticism and skills needed to compete in the UFC. It will also cast a spotlight throughout the country, searching for the most talented local martial artists.”
I spoke to Fertitia earlier in the year and he was ebullient about entering the Indian market. With a population of over 1.2 billion people its inevitable that in the coming years fighters from the world’s second largest country will make an impression at the highest level in the world’s premier fighting organization. You can read my Times of India column here.
The Crippler makes his comeback
The Crippler will return. After almost one year on the sidelines Chris Leben will lock horns with Czech powerhouse Karlos Vemola in December. Leben has long been a fan favourite who likes to bang and he won’t be disappointed at UFC 155. Widely touted as a wrestler Vermola has concussive hands and I firmly believe this fight will be one of those sleepers which takes a fight night bonus or two. It will be good to see Leben back in action after his suspension. He remains a draw as much due to his larger than life personality as fighting ability. He won’t challenge for a title anytime soon but doubtlessly has a few more wars left in him.
Evan Tanner Hall of Famer?
Die hard UK fight fans will remember with fondness performances and quotes from the late Evan Tanner. It was four years last week since Tanner’s passing and it has got me thinking about some of the Texas native’s most memorable performances. Fantastic battles with Phil Baroni, Robbie Lawler and of course David Terrell (when he won the middleweight championship of the world) all spring to mind. Tanner was a gentleman and a true professional. As well known for his blogging as his thunderous knees he was much revered by fans and fellow professionals alike. Whilst he wasn’t able to defend his 185lb strap I believe that somewhere down the line Tanner should be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. I will leave you with one of my favourite Tanner quote: “Everything’s been about the journey… it’s been about the adventure along the way. When you’re on your death bed, it’s those stories, those little adventures that are going to be the things that you remember. It’s not so much getting there, but how you got there.”
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