This Saturday Anderson Silva will once again step into the octagon. He will face one of the men that helped catapult the UFC into the quasi-mainstream several years ago — Stephan Bonnar.
On April 9th, 2005 Bonnar faced Forrest Griffin in the TUF Finale on Spike TV. Bonnar lost that slugfest. However, since that night, Bonnar has gone 8-5 in the octagon. It’s not bad. But it’s not great either. It’s almost like Dana White has kept Bonnar relevant as a massive “thank you’ gift. Based on record alone, Bonnar is basically the Pete Caroll of the UFC. He’s just hanging on, but just like Carroll, his plus attitude gives him an extra boost.
The man everyone really wants put in front of Anderson Silva is Jon Jones. Even Dana has talked about the potential of such a super fight publicly. He’s in. However, Silva and Jones are not.
“Anderson and Jones are saying, ‘hey, we’re buddies,’ or ‘we don’t want to fight’ or whatever the deal is,” White said in September. “But [Jones] didn’t want to fight Rashad either, and that happened.”
The UFC is the class of the sport of mixed martial arts. It always has been, and I’m damn near sure it always will be. It has been nearly 15 years since I first witnessed a UFC event. I fell in love with it nearly instantly. However, a whole lot has changed since then.
During this summer, the UFC will hold 5 events between June 22nd and July 21st. That’s essentially essentially 5 events in the span of just 1 month.
A half dozen years ago, the UFC held only 10 events in the entire year. Now they will put on 5 cards in just 1 month. That’s tremendous growth — a 170% increase in the number of event in a 6 year period.
Can the sport support this type of growth?
The UFC is putting on a big time card this Saturday. This is fitting since it’s the first time in over a decade that the Ultimate Fighting Championship will return to the land of the rising sun. Not since UFC 29, in December 2000, has the UFC put on a show in Japan.
Let’s go fight by fight.
Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson
As of now I have yet to fine the path I believe this fight will take. For me, at this time, this is a stay away fight when it comes to wagering. Right now I’m leaning towards Henderson athleticism being a difference maker. Just when I think that’s the key, I get scared off.
If this fight goes into the championship rounds, I believe Edgar has a massive advantage. Then I think about it; Henderson has won three decisions in a row.
This fight is a total black hole for me. I just can’t decide which way is up and which was is down — I’m lost. So, don’t listen to my pick. I promise they will get more decisive here on out.
Pick: Henderson (+125)
Rampage Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
Bader is a better wrestler than Jackson. However, Rampage is more than serviceable when it comes to those skills. If Bader and his team implement a solid game plan which takes advantage of Bader’s superior take downs — this could be a cakewalk.
I’m not naive, though. There is a great chance a lot of this fight takes place standing up. That’s where Jackson has a decisive advantage, although Bader is decent and dangerous on the feet.
Bader opened at about +155. A ton of money has come in on Jackson. You can now get Bader at +230. It’s crazy — his price is akin to a barrel of oil at this point — it just keeps going up.
Pick: Bader (+230)