The number of changes that the UFC 153 card underwent since its original assembly can be likened to the many tweaks a bride-to-be goes through in getting fitted for her wedding gown. Every time things appear settled, something else came into force a revision . The preparation might have been trying, but finally, order has been restored.

Here’s a timeline, recapping the madness that went into finalizing this card:

*August 21st, 2012- Alan Belcher/Vitor Belfort called off due to the UFC 151 fiasco that resulted in a cancel card. As a result, Vitor Belfort volunteers to fight UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 152. A few hours after Belfort’s announcement, Belcher disclosed an injury, forcing him to withdraw from the card.

*August 30th, 2012- Number one Featherweight contender Eric Koch pulled out of the main event against champion Jose Aldo due to injury. Former Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar offers to drop down to the Featherweight division in order to both contend for Aldo’s title and give fight fans a super fight.

*September 11th, 2012- Both Jose Aldo and Quinton Jackson announce injuries that kept them from participating on the card. Jackson was set to fight Light Heavyweight combatant Glover Texiera.

*October 4th, 2012- Heavyweight combatant Geronimo dos Santos pulled out of his UFC debut against former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga.

Given the storm this card went through, rest assured the UFC front office is counting its blessings. Not for the group of fighters that understand the importance of keeping a fight card alive, but the growth of the main card, which now carries six bouts. Without further ado, here’s a look into who answered the call, along with some of the original fights that maintained their slots:

Anderson “The Spider” Silva vs. Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar (Main Event, Light Heavyweight Division Bout)

Not only is Silva stepping up to main event in his homecoming to Brazil, he’s doing so in unfamiliar territory.  Only twice has the Middleweight champion fought at 205 pounds and in both instances, he won by way first round TKOs. Do not expect the same result against Bonnar. He’s known as the American Psycho for a reason. The combination of an iron clad will and chin will not allow him to quit. The sight of his own blood seems to be an energy boost for him. Did I mention this could be Bonnar’s last fight.  Although Bonnar will be in foreign territory, he is well respected on Brazilian soil. In addition to another win for the Spider, all in observance should expect a fun fight that goes the distance.

Minotauro “Big Nog” Nogueira vs. Dave “Pee-Wee” Herman (Co-Main Event, Heavyweight Division Bout)

After refusing to tap and suffering a broken arm at the hands of Frank Mir at UFC 140, “Big Nog” is chomping at the bit to score a big win. Adding to that fuel is an upcoming combatant in Herman, who mocks validity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu every chance he gets. While many expect Big Nog to finish Pee-Wee with a ground submission, it won’t even get that far. Herman’s athleticism can’t make up for a chin that succumbs to heavy hits. His two fight losing streak has come in the form of knockouts. Big Nog has big hands, so again, Pee-Wee will suffer a loss at the same variety.

Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado (Light Heavyweight Division Bout)

Just one fight into his UFC career, Teixeira is the most feared man in the UFC.  In less than a month, both Rashad Evans and Mauricio Ruo, who are former champions, turned down shots to replace Quinton Jackson as Teixeira’s opponent. Even Lyoto Machida (also a former champion) said he would’ve turned down the fight if he were in Rua’s shoes. Not one to back down from a fight, Maldonado, a former boxer steps in to test his might.  Both have granite chins and Jiu-Jitsu expertise, but this one will come down to the hands. I’ve never seen one of his fights, but I can’t help but reach for  the Teixeira flavored Kool-Aid.

Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva (Welterweight Division Bout)

Fitch is looking to return to championship glory. Erick is looking to make list of elite Silvas that have graced the octagon. Fitch is a takedown artist and Silva’s a malicious striker. With perfect timing, Silva will put Fitch to rest, in response to an attempted takedown.

Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis vs. Wagner “Caldeirao” Prado (Light Heavyweight Division Bout)

An accidental eye poke for a stoppage to this card and an undeclared winner. In the rematch, I expect Davis to show improvement from his uninspiring performance (loss) against Rashad Evans back in January. This Brazilian outing should work out in his favor.

Demian Maia vs. Rick “The Horror” Story (Welterweight Division Bout)    

I can’t put a finger on it, but Maia’s last few fights have lacked a sense of urgency. If Story can return to the form in which he dominated Thiago Alves back at UFC 130, he should overwhelm Maia.

In response to all the turmoil that came with structuring this card, poetic justice will be in motion as this lineup gives Rio Di Janeiro’s HSBC Arena and the many Pay-Per-View subscribers something to behold. Check back here with us for a full recap of this hefty card.

By Antoine Hoffman

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