Preview of UFC 148
This Saturday's UFC 148 could be one of the biggest pay-per-events in UFC history. The main event and co-main event are huge matches for fans and followers of MMA, and should even be entertaining for casual fans.
For me, there are a few different things that factor into making a great fight. Obviously the skill of the fighters is a big factor. If you know two guys are very skilled, you'll be excited to see who will end up as the alpha male. Another factor is the history between the fighters. Have they fought before...were they good close fights? And a third factory is the story. The UFC does a great job of promoting the story of their main events...even creating story lines for bouts that may need a little more of a push.
All three of those factors are covered with the two main fights at UFC 148...great fighters, great history and great stories. Below are my thoughts and predictions for these two main fights.
Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
Let's go ahead and start with the main event between current UFC Middleweight Champ Anderson Silva and #1 contender Chael Sonnen. The UFC didn't have to create any hype for this fight...mainly because Chael Sonnen is a one-man hype machine all by himself. The story here is these guys HATE each other...no other way to put it. And it's not just "pre-fight hate"...it is legit.
It was almost exactly two years ago when Sonnen was about two minutes away from winning a unanimous decision against Silva and taking his belt, when Silva pulled off a triangle choke from his back and submitted Sonnen in the final round. Sonnen has been trying to get a rematch ever since then, and has been poop-talking the whole time. Not only trashing Silva and his skills, but also talking crap about Silva's home country of Brazil, one of the birth places of MMA. All the while the champ has pretty much kept his cool. Recently though, we saw a bit of emotion from the champ at a recent press conference. You can tell Silva is not amused or impressed with Silva. See that clip below.
Sonnen is a great athlete. He is a big strong guy at 185 lbs. No doubt his strength is his wrestling and ground and pound. He's got decent submission skills too, but I don't think he's gonna beat anybody on his feet. If the fight stays standing I think he's in trouble. There is a reason why Anderson Silva is the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world (yes, he IS that good), he can beat you in so many different ways. He weathered four and half rounds of ground and pound from Sonnen last time, and managed to pull out a beautiful submission. He also submitted Dan Henderson, another world-class wrestler. And his striking skills are legendary! His front kick to beat Vitor Belfort...his brutal knees that rearranged Rich Franklin's nose...and his half-strength, off his back foot punch that knocked out Forrest Griffin. Nuff said.
My prediction: I don't think this fight is as close as the last one. We've seen what Silva can do when he puts his mind to it. I'm gonna say that Silva wins this fight by a referee stoppage in the second round.