Anderson Silva is the new headliner for UFC 153.
But he won’t be defending his middleweight title. Instead he is facing Stephan Bonnar in a light-heavyweight ‘superfight’ that may also end up serving as Bonnar’s retirement fight.
The fight, which will take place over three rounds in the October 13 headline slot, was first reported by USA Today, who quoted UFC president Dana White as saying the match was “old-school UFC”.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
UFC 153 will represent Anderson’s third venture to light-heavyweight for a one-off fight. His first was James Irvin in July 2008. Anderson knocked him out at 1:01 of the first round, presaging a career tailspin that has since seen him go 3-5 with one no-contest. His second was a similarly early stoppage of Forrest Griffin.
Of course Bonnar is in no danger of being cut from the UFC if he loses, having been guaranteed a spot for life along with fellow TUF 1 finalist Forrest Griffin, because their war in the season final is credited with sparking the boom that has the UFC where it is today.
Bonnar has always had mixed results in the UFC but is actually riding a three-fight win streak. He has been asking for a big-name fight for some time and rumour has it that may be because he is looking to go out with a bang.