Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 148: Silva vs Sonnen II
Arguably the most anticipated fight in UFC history takes place on July 7th in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. UFC 148 will be headlined by the pound for pound best in the world, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva defending his Middleweight championship against Chael Sonnen for the second time. They previously fought back in August of 2010 as the world witnessed Anderson Silva being dominated for the first time in his UFC career as he managed to pull off a miraculous submission in the 5th round of the fight with a couple minutes to go. There are few moments in MMA history where a fight is able to define the careers of two athletes.
Besides the title fight, there are three Canadians fighting on the card including Patrick ‘The Predator’ Coté, who makes his way back into the UFC after being cut late 2010. There will be six main card bouts that will be aired live on Pay-Per-View. There will be four preliminary fights on the card that will be aired live on Sportsnet in Canada and FX in the U.S. The first bout of the night will be aired live on Facebook.
Now for the breakdown:
Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (31-4) –216 vs. Chael Sonnen (27-11-1) +190
As the bout nears, anticipation is rising. The trash talking will soon be over, that is unless Chael Sonnen emerges victorious. This Middleweight championship bout may be the most anticipated fight in UFC history. It was August 7th, 2010 the last time Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen met inside the Octagon. After a four year reign where ‘The Spider’ won 11 fights and looked unstoppable, he was beat down and brutalized by Sonnen. Through 23 minutes of the fight, Sonnen put Silva on his back several times and used effective ground and pound to dominate the fight. Every judge had Sonnen on his way to victory. Suddenly, by some divine miracle, Anderson was able to take control of Chael’s wrists as he wrapped his legs around his neck and successfully completed a triangle choke. Despite the extremely one sided bout, the UFC Middleweight championship remained in the hands of its long time owner and Anderson walked out of the Octagon a fortunate man. He took advantage of an opening and showed the world that even he had the ability to fight through adversity.
After front kicking Vitor Belfort’s head into oblivion and picking apart Yushin Okami in Rio, Silva is prepared to get back into the Octagon with his nemesis. Chael looked impressive after a year long layoff against Brian Stann, where he managed to do what he rarely does and finish his opponent. He went on to face Michael Bisping in a fight that he looked less than stellar in but still managed to get the decision win to set up the fight the world has waited far too long for. The game plans are simple for both fighters. Anderson, as usual, will want to keep the fight standing. Though his Brazilian jiu-jitsu came in handy the first time around, his advantage against every fighter in the world is his striking. He is undoubtedly a threat to win via submission once again and Sonnen is prone to getting submitted but he should not want to be so willing to fight off of his back for 25 minutes once again. If he is able to sprawl and use his quickness, he could make this a rough night for Chael. The most predictable fighter in the division is Chael Sonnen. He has no fear of being submitted and will always look to take the fight to the ground and dominate to the best of his abilities. His boxing is underrated and he is a threat to use it because so many fighters expect to be taken down so his opponents generally fight with their hands very low. Chael will need to utilize the exact same game plan to come out victorious against Anderson. Silva just did not look like himself in that first fight. Although age is catching up to him, he has showed few signs of slowing down. 25 minutes proved to be a couple minutes long for Chael to pull off the upset decision victory back in 2010; however, Silva should be able to get this done much quicker. He should be able to drop Chael and finish the fight on the ground.
Prediction: Silva via Rear Naked Choke Round 3
Forrest Griffin (18-7) –325 vs. Tito Ortiz (16-10-1) +235
The term UFC legend gets thrown around often but Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz truly helped revolutionize the organization. This will be the third installment of the Griffin/Ortiz saga and though both fighters have become irrelevant in the Light Heavyweight division, this should be a great fight for what may be the end for both. Ortiz has already said this will be his retirement fight and one that he has been interested in. Griffin may do the same considering he has only fought twice since his last fight with Ortiz back in 2009. Both fights were split decisions, the first going to Ortiz and the second going to Griffin. Both fighters are very evenly matched and will likely put it all out there in a Fight of the Night performance. Tito has won one of his last eight bouts since 2006 and has been finished in his last two but he is still a game opponent. Both fighters are very well rounded but neither is really great at any specific aspect of MMA at this stage in their careers. Ortiz holds a wrestling advantage against Griffin but he has not been able to effectively use it in years. If he wants to end his career on a good note, he may need to use it as well as he can. The second fight was far closer than the first, though both were split decisions, but it could easily be argued that Ortiz deserved the victory in both fights. He was able to get the fight to the ground and beat up Griffin for two rounds before gassing for the third. That fight was nearly three years ago and the third fight is not a guarantee that it will look anything like their previous meetings. Griffin has looked far less interested and has not looked definitively impressive since he won the Light Heavyweight title over Rampage Jackson. Ortiz might be the more motivated fighter and he should be able to perform in his final bout. It will be another close fight with Ortiz coming out on top in the rubber match of this legendary trilogy.
Prediction: Ortiz via Unanimous Decision
Cung Le (7-2) +185 vs. Patrick Coté (17-7) –250
After being cut in 2010 for three consecutive losses, Canadian Patrick Coté did what he told the rest of the MMA world to do and fought his way back instead of complaining. His opponent, Cung Le, was originally scheduled to fight Rich Franklin but gets the tough task of fighting a motivated Coté in his return. Le is an extremely versatile striker and even managed to make Wanderlei Silva hesitate in the first round of their fight. He throws wild and accurate kicks to the body and head but his cardio has been an issue in past bouts against Silva and Scott Smith. He will need to be prepared to pace himself against a guy like Coté who can walk through punches and absorb a lot of damage while moving forward. Both fighters will want to keep it standing and even though Le is light years ahead of Coté in talent on the feet, Patrick is the better conditioned and more aggressive fighter, which will give him major advantages in the fight. Le is a very talented offensive fighter but as long as Coté can weather the early storm from Le, he should be able to rock him and finish the fight.
Prediction: Coté via TKO Round 2
Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1) –145 vs. Demian Maia (15-4) +115
After several less than stellar performances after being knocked out by Nate Marquardt and losing to Anderson Silva for the Middleweight title, Demian Maia has decided to make the move to 170 pounds where he will take on Dong Hyun Kim. The Welterweight division became jam packed over night and Maia could easily become a title contender in this weight class. His jiu-jitsu is arguably the best in the UFC and he has much improved striking that he will need to utilize against a fighter like Kim. On the other end, Kim is a very strong judoka with solid striking. He is able to control the fight on the ground but that is not something he will want to try against a fighter like Maia. Kim got back in the win column when he defeated Sean Pierson and has only suffered one career defeat and that was to current Interim Welterweight Champion, Carlos Condit. Maia needs an impressive victory over a legitimate opponent to prove that a drop down to 170 was the correct career choice. It is tough to say who will have the advantage on the feet. Maia has improved his overall ability standing up but did not look good at all in his last fight against Chris Weidman. They may be evenly matched on the feet so it could very well come down to the ground game. Both fighters are solid grapplers but Maia’s submission grappling ability and his size advantage may be the difference in his divisional debut.
Prediction: Maia via Unanimous Decision
Chad Mendes (11-1) –700 vs. Cody McKenzie (13-2) +450
After suffering his lone career defeat to Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes returns against divisional newcomer, Cody McKenzie. People may have forgotten how dominant Mendes truly is after losing to arguably the most talented fighter in the world. Few fighters were able to accomplish anything against his suffocating and agile fighting style. His wrestling base is phenomenal and he has been able to dominate Featherweights such as Erik Koch, Cub Swanson and Michihiro Omigawa. McKenzie has deadly guillotines that he will likely try to utilize to defend against Mendes’ wrestling. McKenzie has proven to be a one trick pony considering his last 11 victories were guillotines. He has looked less than stellar in his Octagon appearances but is always a threat to finish the fight. He does have pretty decent jiu-jitsu but it is tough to see him succeed against a fighter that many consider the second best Featherweight in the world. McKenzie is a tough fighter and will try to make a fight out of it, but unless he catches Mendes in a submission, it is tough to see him walking out of the Octagon with a win in his Featherweight debut. Look for Mendes to dominate on the feet to see up his power takedowns en route to a ground and pound finish.
Prediction: Mendes via TKO Round 1
Ivan Menjivar (24-8) –105 vs. Mike Easton (12-1) –125
Looking for his fourth straight UFC victory, Canadian Bantamweight Ivan Menjivar has his toughest test in front of him in Mike Easton. Both fighters prefer striking and it should be an extremely fast paced back and forth by two tough fighters. Menjivar is a long time veteran of the sport and is on the best run of his career and it all started with a phenomenal knockout against Charles Valencia. He is the more versatile striker of the two and will need to keep Easton guessing if he wants to be able to win. Easton is the type of fighter that will get into your face and brawl. He is a tough and gritty fighter that is always looking to put up fight of the night worthy performances. Both of these fighters are nearing title contention and with current Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz out with an injury, this is the perfect time to pick up a huge victory. This could very well be the most entertaining bout of the night as both fighters will look to go in and out with long spurts of brawling. Easton will gladly engage but Menjivar is a smart veteran that has the ability to pick apart most fighters. He was almost finished by John Albert in his last fight so he will need to avoid being pushed up against the cage because that is where Easton will do most of his damage. Expect this fight to be a wild and exciting back and forth with Easton barely pulling it off to move one step closer to title contention.
Prediction: Easton via Split Decision
John Alessio (34-15) +160 vs. Shane Roller (10-6) –210
After a less than stellar return to the Octagon, Canadian MMA veteran John Alessio has been given another shot. He will go up against Shane Roller, who has lost his last three UFC bouts, being finished in two of them. Both Alessio and Roller are on the cut list and will likely need a win to continue in the UFC. Roller is an All-American wrestler with power in his right hand. If he is unable to utilize his wrestling as has been a common issue for him while in the UFC, he will need to hope for his power to put down his opponent. Alessio is a very well-rounded fighter that was unfortunately dominated by Mark Bocek which is nothing to be ashamed of. Alessio is the much better and versatile striker and will likely be able to pick apart Roller on the feet and must rotate around the Octagon to avoid being caught. If the fight goes to the ground, Alessio has good enough jiu-jitsu to survive off of his back but Roller has the ability to dominate from top position. Odds are, Alessio is able to keep the fight standing and should be able to frustrate Roller, forcing him to go for broke against the Canadian. Alessio should be able to come out with the decision victory.
Prediction: Alessio via Unanimous Decision