Breaking news comes tonight as UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva is willing to step up and save an event for his company by facing Stephan Bonnar in the main event at UFC 153. After yesterday’s news came that both Featherweight champ and Light Heavyweight Quinton Jackson would be unable to fight due to injury, 145 lb. title challenger Frankie Edgar was ultimately pulled off the card altogether. Rumors swirled earlier today that perhaps Chael Sonnen would face Wanderlei Silva in the event’s main fight, as the two have had a heated past between them. However, this never came to fruition.
Instead Silva, who has fought twice at Light Heavyweight before, decimating James Irvin and then Forrest Griffin, has decided he will save a card like he was willing to do when UFC 151 ultimately fell apart. Not only that, the rest of the main card came together quickly as well, as Glover Texeira will face Fabio Maldonado instead of Rampage and Big Nog is scheduled to face Dave Herman. Dana White was obviously very impressed with his long-standing champion, widely considered one of the greatest fighters to ever walk the planet:
“We’re back on track. Anderson Silva wasn’t scheduled to fight at all. I called him today, and he’s shooting a commercial in Brazil. Anderson Silva steps up, and Stephan Bonnar wants to fight him. The Teixeira vs. Maldonado fight comes together, and then Nogueira was standing right there with Anderson shooting the commercial with him, and he said he wanted to fight, too.” – via MMAJunkie.com
While injuries have decimated card after card this summer, it appears that the Rio de Janeiro event was able to be saved, with some potential for fireworks. Bonnar is on a bit of a win streak himself, and we will see if he can contend with Silva. Texeira, who submitted Kyle Kingsbury in his UFC debut earlier this year, will have his hands full with the great striking of Maldonado. Of course, it will also be very interesting to see how Nogeira returns from his brutal injury at the hands of Frank Mir last December. Perhaps White put it best with a summary here, and maybe got one last barb in on Jon Jones with some subtelty:
“This is old-school UFC. A card is in jeopardy, but guys that are world champions and superstars stepped up and jumped in and saved the card. This is why the fans love this sport and why we went on a 12-year run without canceling an event.”