It isn't exactly surprising, but the closer we get towards Saturday, the less and less this starts to feel like a normal event. The pre-show buzz is palpable, just like it always is, but has an oddly different flavor than usual, like this is just a movie and we're all gawking from afar.
I referenced this yesterday, but UFC 153 is really the closest thing I've ever seen towards being a real-life version of Rocky IV, and it's bizarrely entertaining to watch. The sensible side of us knows Anderson Silva is going to crush Stephan Bonnar, probably in an extraordinarily violent manner. Yet, that lingering whisper won't the hell shut up, jabbering away about Bonnar's size advantage and how he won't be afraid, while endlessly replaying GSP-Serra on loop. The vibe is like UFC 152 on steroids, and I, for one, am exceedingly curious to see what happens next.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Bonnar ready for the moment. Stephan Bonnar responded to critics claiming he was just there for the show by saying, "When have I not got in there and fought my absolute a-- off? Never." Bonnar went on to explain of his gameplan, "I'm going through hell, and he's coming with me."
Silva focused on GSP next. When asked about not having to cut weight, Anderson Silva jokingly said his diet consisted of Burger King, Coca Cola and ice cream. Silva then reiterated he is focused on making UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre his next fight.
Jones injury update. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones suffered no ligament damage in his arm at UFC 152. However, according to Jones' wrestling coach Izzy Martinez, the injury requires a follow-up examination in Los Angeles after an initial corrective procedure was found to be incomplete.
Aldo talks motorcycle accident, Edgar. UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo revealed his leg is "much better" and he is just waiting on doctor's clearance to start training again. Aldo also confirmed his next title defense will be against Frankie Edgar, and Edgar will always be No. 2 at 145 pounds.
Teixeira knows he can beat Jones. Up-and-coming light heavyweight Glover Teixeira repeated that while he isn't at the top of the division just yet, he believes he could defeat Jon Jones right now.
Big Nog reflects on Mir injury. Legendary heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira said that despite his long recovery time, he doesn't regret not tapping to Frank Mir's kimura at UFC 140: "I was thinking about winning. I really thought I was going to escape from that submission."
It's okay. You have my permission to be lazy, get absolutely no work done, and spend your morning watching the full episode of 'Countdown to UFC 153.'
The 'Griffin and Bonnar' series is first-class entertainment, and yesterday's installment is no exception. (This may help international geo-blocked readers.)
Remember when Rich Franklin was supposed to destroy the lanky, little-known Brazilian standing across from him? Yeah, that didn't happen. (Click to watch.)
My two biggest takeaways from Big Nog's episode of UFC Cribs: 1.) His girlfriend looks like she could be his daughter. 2.) I need to move to Brazil. Immediately.
This has absolutely nothing to do with UFC 153, but it may be one of the most well-constructed tribute videos I've ever seen.
Brett Rogers, the favorite for Bellator's heavyweight tournament, didn't exactly live up to his billing when he dropped a widely-panned decision to 23-year-old Alexander Volkov in the quarterfinals last weekend. (Check it out here.) But at least he has a pretty legitimate excuse, because apparently he fought the final 13 minutes with a shattered right arm.
And here's Jeremy Stephens' mugshot, if you're into that sort of thing.
(HT: Bloody Elbow)
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Dan Henderson (@danhendo) October 10, 2012
SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE...
It'll be so crazy if Bonnar beats A.Silva— Duane Ludwig (@DUANEBANGCOM) October 11, 2012
@stephanbonnar sweet jams playing ! Always one of my fave entrance songs! Your a legend ! Good luck Saturday :)— Joseph Benavidez (@JoeJitsu) October 10, 2012
Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) October 10, 2012
Announced yesterday (Wednesday, October 10, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is an intriguing revelation from L.P. Byrne: Rickson Gracie to start new MMA event with different rule set
Tatame reported five days ago that Rickson Gracie is starting his own MMA event series in Rio de Janeiro next month.
The event, entitled ‘Mestre do Combate' or ‘Master of Combat' will have a number of significant differences to the MMA shows to which we have become accustomed, designed to reintroduce ‘the spirit of victory and strategy' and prioritise skill instead of athleticism Rickson told Tatame.
Such differences include weighs-ins on the day of the fight, thereby eliminating the various complications that can arise from large weight cuts, and levelling the playing field with regards to fighter strength and conditioning.
Further differences are designed to leave less of a doubt as to who has won the fight. If for example the fight is close to finishing by either knockout or submission, no bell will sound to signify the end of the round. No one it seems will be ‘saved by the bell'.
Fights will be structured in the same manner as in the old Pride events with the first round lasting ten minutes in order to favour strategy over explosiveness, followed by a five minute second round. If at the end of the fight there is no clear winner, the fights will be decided by a panel consisting of Rickson himself, the referee and the audience. How exactly the audience will cast their votes and how they will be amalgamated into one of equal weight to those of Rickson and the referee was not mentioned in the piece.
One final difference is that the fighters competing in the event will be organised into a team structure. Each team will represent a major Brazilian city and be comprised of a coach and five fighters, each representing a weight class from lightweight to heavyweight.
Every ‘Mestre do Combate' event will have two teams facing off, the winning team being the one that at the end of the event holds at least three wins over the other. Though in addition to this there will be fight of the night bonuses.
The first event will take place on the 22nd of November and the show will run for a series of nine events, seven of which have already confirmed venues and dates.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.