The main event of UFC 148 is shaping up to be one of the biggest fights of the year – if not in the history of MMA. The re-match between Anderson Silva (considered to be the best ever by many) and Chael Sonnen (the only man to ever come close to beating Silva) will no doubt be an exciting one. However, I don’t believe this to be the case for many of the reasons that others do; RE: Sonnen is going to walk away with the belt.
I am fairly certain that Anderson Silva will put on a clinic the likes of which we haven’t seen from the longtime middleweight champion. And I believe when the night is over, everyone will be talking about why Silva is the greatest the sport has ever seen. Here’s why…
1) Anderson Silva is healthy: In the first fight Silva claims that he was suffering from both a rib and back injury; I can’t find any reason not to believe what he’s saying. Silva has never made excuses for his performance in the ring. This would also be the only other explanation as to how he was so easily controlled on the ground (if Silva could escape Henderson, why couldn’t he escape a wrestler of an arguably lesser caliber?)
2) Silva is fired-up: It could have just been to further build-up the fight, but last week Anderson Silva verbally fired at his opponent like we’ve never seen before. While Silva is usually very calm and mild-mannered, his most decisive victories have come when he has felt like he has had something to prove (i.e. KO of Vitor Belfort).
3) Silva is ready for Sonnen this time: While I do think injury played a role in the last fight, I also think Silva grossly underestimated Sonnen’s game. This time, I think he is ready for the shoot and the striking game of Sonnen. Silva just has too many tools in his arsenal, and I think we’re going to see them all on display this weekend.
4) Sonnen doesn’t have the benefit of steroids: I am just going to leave this one where it is. You judge for yourself.
5) Silva is on a roll: 14-0 in the UFC. Enough said.
6) Silva is ready for retirement: Anderson Silva is getting old, no 38 years old. Very few fighters remain effective this late into their career (Randy Couture being an exception). Silva has stated publicly on numerous occasions that he is ready to retire. He wants to cement his legacy and end the one question-mark on his career.
This is by no means to say that I think Chael Sonnen doesn’t have a shot at winning, I just really don’t think his odds of victory are very good. In fact, I think they’re even less than I did the first time. One thing, however, that I have said over and over that makes the sport of MMA so great is the lack of predictability.
I am looking forward to seeing each fighter’s respective game plan coming into this fight, as I don’t think it will be what anyone is expecting. I just truly don’t believe it matters what Sonnen has planned, he’ll likely be going home in defeat.
… and that is the last word.