Monday, October 08, 2012

UFC 153: This Guy Will Take A Beating, Folks!

So thanks to yet another spate of injuries to key fighters, the UFC 153 card in Rio needed to be almost entirely rebuilt.  Fortunately, a number of big-name Brazilian fighters stepped up to bail out the show, including best-in-the-world, maybe best-of-all-time, middleweight champ Anderson Silva, who's moving up to light-heavyweight for the occasion. 

His opponent?  Stephan Bonnar, a longtime UFC fan favourite best known for his legendary brawl against Forrest Griffin in the first 'Ultimate Fighter' finale.  While Bonnar has never been knocked out or submitted, he's certainly lost his share of fights (he's 8-6 in the UFC) and is maybe just a notch above journeyman status.  That said, Bonnar is 3-0 over his last three fights and has earned a bigger-name opponent, so this match against Silva is both a decent thrown-together headliner and sort of a thank-you to Bonnar by giving him one major PPV payday as he approaches the end of his career.

While Bonnar is a tough guy, I see almost no way that he can actually win this fight, unless Silva slips on the mat or blows out his ACL or something.  It'd be one thing if the UFC promoted this bout as a real-life Rocky scenario (the gutsy tough underdog against the unbeatable champ) but instead, they're promoting it like this.

As a fan of comedy, I can't help but appreciate the goofiness of this ad.  I never thought I'd see the Homer Simpson vs. Drederick Tatum commercial replicated in real life, but here we are.

From a marketing perspective, you can argue that opening saying "Bonnar has a snowball's chance in hell of winning" is no way to promote a fight, but this is a novel way of looking at Bonnar's underdog status.  It also serves to help Bonnar's burgeoning broadcasting career, as the guy has already established himself as having a good sense of humour, and this only further gets his personality over.  For those of you who think UFC = WWE, there is no chance Bonnar is just showing up for a paycheque.  He will take his beating if it comes to that, but there's no way he's going to lay down for Silva or anything unsavoury.  Bonnar will give it his all.  He also knows that if the stars align and he does manage to knock off Silva, then that elevates him from journeyman to the Buster Douglas of MMA.  It will also probably lead to an immediate 205-pound title shot against Jon Jones, who Bonnar lost to a few years ago via decision, but this time it can be a major PPV headliner and then the UFC can really push the Rocky angle to the hilt.

All food for thought before we see Bonnar get his ass kicked in Rio because, c'mon, it's Anderson Silva. 

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