Bonnar knows he's in tough against Silva

Stephan Bonnar will fight Anderson Silva on Saturday at UFC 153. (QMI FILES)

Stephan Bonnar will fight Anderson Silva on Saturday at UFC 153. (QMI FILES)

NEIL SPRINGER, Special to the QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

Stephan (The American Psycho) Bonnar has no illusions when it comes to fighting Anderson (The Spider) Silva.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finalist knows he’s not going to put on a technical clinic against the UFC middleweight champion. He’s also not expecting his size advantage to make the fight any easier.

But that’s just fine with Bonnar, who has made a career out of turning bouts into dogfights.

So when he steps into the cage with Silva this weekend, his keys to success are simple: Bite down hard on the mouthguard and make it ugly.

“I can’t really discuss (my game plan), but let’s just look at it for what it is,” Bonnar said on a recent conference call. “He’s a really great, accurate striker. I’m not going to out-finesse him. I’ve got to make it a little uglier, be aggressive and eat a punch to land a punch.

“That’s about as much as I want to give on that.”

Though other fighters have tried just that, you can’t blame Bonnar for sticking to his strengths. He will get the opportunity to shock the world when he faces Silva at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday in the first three-round main event on pay-per-view in almost a year. The last two fighters to do so were Nick Diaz and B.J. Penn at UFC 137.

Normally all headlining bouts are scheduled for five rounds (25 total minutes), but an exception was made since both fighters accepted the bout on one-month’s notice after the previous main event between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo fell through.

Though Silva originally announced he wasn’t going to fight until some time next year, opting to hold out for a potential super-fight against Georges St. Pierre, he jumped at the opportunity to compete in Brazil.

He said Bonnar’s first encounter with Forrest Griffin is part of the reason MMA is so popular.

“He’s a great athlete and part of the history of the UFC,” Silva said through translator Derek Lee. “He’s a very dangerous guy. He’s good on his feet, he’s got good ground work, good wrestling and takedown defence.

“I can’t take anyone lightly because anything can happen. You can get submitted or knocked out at any time.

“Stephan Bonnar, it is an honour to be fighting him. He’s a great champion. He’s done a lot in his career. It’s definitely going to be a great challenge. I’m prepared, but I also wanted to step up and take this fight because I wanted to give back to all my Brazilian fans, who have supported me in the past.”

Bonnar admitted to being shocked when he was offered the fight.

At the time he had essentially retired from the sport, but was helping former professional wrestler Dave Bautista prepare for his MMA debut against Vince Lucero last weekend. Though he was in the gym, he didn’t feel he had enough time to prepare for a five-round fight.

“Making weight has always been easy,” Bonnar said. “The concern was, pretty much coming out of retirement, to get in good enough shape in that short amount of time. I’ve been trying as hard as I can and I feel like I’m in good enough shape to fight three rounds.”

Though he is currently riding a three-fight win streak, Bonnar quietly hung up his gloves due to a lack of high-profile fight offers. He admitted that had Silva’s name not come his way, he could have easily called it a career.

“I campaigned for some big fights, but I couldn’t get them,” Bonnar said. “So in my head, I was really trying to get over the whole fighting thing ... I talked to (UFC president Dana White) and we had different viewpoints on how fighters should feel. It looked like I wasn’t getting any of the things I asked for. It was no big deal. If I’m not going to get a big fight, I have no problem not doing this.

“He’s all about guys being hungry for the title and I’ve never been like that. I’ve always felt that no matter where I am on the fight card, I can steal the show ... which I feel like I’ve done before. I was just honest.

“His viewpoint is: ‘What is the point of a guy just hanging around the division? It doesn’t make sense. If you’re not going for the title, you should hang it up.’ I was like, ‘I kind of like hanging around the division.’ Just going out there, beating guys and doing my best — that’s how I’ve always felt about fighting. I just do it for fun. I’ve never done it for any belts and now I’m fighting the greatest pound-for-pound guy, who has been a champion for a long time — and it’s not for a belt.

“You think if I pull off an upset against Anderson Silva that it’s not going to be as sweet because it’s not for a belt? Hell no. It’s going to be the greatest moment of my life.”

HOW TO WATCH UFC 153

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar

Dave Herman vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Fabio Maldonado vs. Glover Teixeira

Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva

Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado

Demian Maia vs. Rick Story

PRELIMS (Sportsnet ONE, 8 p.m.)

Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Sam Sicilia

Gleison Tibau vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Diego Brandao vs. Joey Gambino

Renee Forte vs. Sergio Moraes

PRELIMINS (Facebook, 7 p.m. — time subject to change)

Chris Camozzi vs. Luiz Cane

Reza Madadi vs. Cristiano Marcello

STEPHENS REMAINS BEHIND BARS

Jeremy Stephens is still behind the bars in Minnesota.

The lightweight fighter was arrested Friday morning for warrants stemming from an alleged assault in Des Moines, Iowa last year. The Minneapolis Police Department detained Stephens mere hours before he was scheduled to face Yves Edwards at UFC on FX 5.

UFC president Dana White attempted to bail Stephens out in time for the bout, but was unsuccessful.

“I cut the deal with people down in Des Moines, Iowa, to get him out,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “They changed the deal. Every time I accepted the deal, they kept trying to make it harder and harder and harder. You know me, especially after I tweeted the media to shut up, I was devising a plan to break him out and get him over here to come out and do this fight. So, they finally made this deal for an astronomical amount of money to make the deal, and I agreed to it, and then they did it again. So they’re going to stick it to this kid big-time when he gets to Iowa.

“I’m always going to believe my guy and support my guy until I’m proven wrong.”

During a brief court appearance Tuesday, Stephens’ bail was set at $100,000 and he will now appear before a judge on Oct. 23, where he faces extradition. Stephens’ management has since confirmed the fighter was present at the event where the alleged assault took place, but deny his involvement.

“In 2011, Jeremy was attending a homecoming party in Des Moines, Iowa,” the statement reads. “A person in attendance became intoxicated and disorderly, and was asked to leave by the owner of the establishment. The intoxicated individual subsequently became involved in a physical altercation with another person at the event. We have learned that, as the featured guest at the party, Jeremy’s name came up during the police investigation of the assault.

“Prior to being detained the morning of Oct. 5, 2012, in Minneapolis, Jeremy had never been arrested in connection with the assault, contacted about any possible charge and/or notified about any outstanding warrant by mail or any other means.”

DARKNESS GOES DARK

Following three straight losses, DaMarques (Darkness) Johnson has been cut by the UFC.

The Salt Lake City welterweight confirmed the news via Twitter.

“And the hits keep on coming ... No longer a UFC fighter,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson stepped up on 12-days notice to face Gunnar Nelson at UFC on FUEL TV 5 last month in Nottingham, England. The bout was only eight weeks removed from his violent KO loss to Mike Swick.

Due to the quick turnaround, Johnson was granted a catchweight of 175 pounds. He ended up missing the mark by eight pounds. The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 finalist also missed weight for a bout with Matt Riddle in 2010.

When the cage door shut, Nelson put Johnson away in impressive fashion. After cracking Johnson with a high kick, the Icelandic grappler took the bout to the mat where he subsequently locked up a rear-naked choke for the win.

BROWNE TORE HAMSTRING IN LOSS

Travis (Hapa) Browne suffered a torn hamstring during his bout with Antonio (Big Foot) Silva.

The UFC heavyweight confirmed the injury via Twitter.

“They said I tore my hamstring, ill (sic) be out for 2-4 months,” Browne wrote. “Luckily no surgery. Thank you again for your support. Ill (sic) be back stronger!”

Browne met Silva in the main event of UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis last Friday. The Hawaiian fighter injured his leg early in the first round off a kick attempt, making him a sitting duck for the Brazilian. Silva picked up the pace, dropping Browne with a devastating straight right. He then unloaded with punches on the mat to hand Browne his first career loss.

Prior to the bout, Browne held a professional record of 13-0-1 with victories over Chad Griggs, Stefan Struve and James McSweeney.

EDWARDS GETS ANOTHER FIGHT

It has been a bizarre week for Yves (Thugjitsu) Edwards.

The MMA veteran was slated to meet Jeremy (Lil’ Heathen) Stephens at UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis last Friday, but Stephens was arrested mere hours before the bout due to warrants stemming from an alleged assault in Des Moines, Iowa in 2011.

UFC president Dana White attempted to bail Stephens out in time for the fight, leaving Edwards no other options but to get warmed up as if nothing was wrong. It was only during the final round of the evening’s co-main event that he found out he wouldn’t be competing.

Edwards was paid his show purse and White promised to get him a new fight as soon as possible.

With the Stephens situation behind him, the Bahamian-American will now face John Cholish on the undercard of UFC on FOX 5 in Seattle on Dec. 8. The card will be headlined by a lightweight championship fight between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz.

After earning a second-round TKO victory over Mitch Clarke in his UFC debut last year, Cholish dropped a unanimous decision to Danny Castillo in May.


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