UFC 148: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2; plus Tito's Farewell Fight
By David A Avila
Many consider Brazil’s Anderson “Spyder” Silva to be one of the best mixed martial arts fighters in the world, but no matter how good a fighter may be, somewhere, some place there’s another guy who can beat you.
Will Chael Sonnen be that guy?
The ultra talented Silva (29-4) nearly lost to the ultra driven Sonnen (28-11-1) two years ago but hopes to erase that memory on Saturday July 7, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. UFC 148 also features another rematch pitting Forrest Griffin against Tito Ortiz. Both fights will be on pay-per-view television plus several others.
Despite dominating the vast array of talented middleweights in the UFC kingdom, it was not until Silva met Sonnen that he seemed vulnerable. Before that the long limbed Brazilian MMA fighter seemingly cruised by opponents whether it was through striking or submission.
More than a few experts consider Silva the best fighter pound for pound today.
“Very few people would dispute, not only is he the pound for pound best fighter in the world, but probably the best mixed martial artist ever,” said Dana White, the president of UFC. “He’s an artist. I mean, this guy does what no other mixed martial artist is able to do.”
One person who disputes that is Sonnen and he desperately seeks to prove his point.
“His skills are amateur. If you walk into a fist fight with your hands down, that’s amateur, and you know, I treated him like an amateur the first time, and he’s going to look like an amateur this time,” says Sonnen, 35.
It was in Oakland, California that Sonnen proved to be Silva’s kryptonite with a battering of the champion that could have resulted in a win. But Silva managed to manipulate a triangle arm bar and reverse the fight. It was also revealed by the California State Athletic Commission that the kryptonite used by Sonnen was some form of performance enhancement drug and was suspended.
Sonnen scored two victories since serving the suspension and has been given an opportunity to prove that it wasn’t PEDs that allowed him to nearly dominate Silva, but execution and fighting skills.
“I’m trying to hurt this guy, and he’s trying to do damage to me, so the stakes are much greater, because this is the biggest sporting event of the summer,” said Sonnen.
Whether it’s knowing that Sonnen was guilty of PEDs or is irritated by the Oregon fighter’s statements, Brazil’s Silva promises pain.
“Chael is a criminal. He’s been convicted of crimes. He doesn’t deserve to be inside the octagon, and when the time comes and the time is right, I’m going to break his face and break every one of his teeth in his mouth,” says Silva, 37, who normally refrains from angered statements.
Silva shocked listeners during the recent telephone conference call when he continued to promise a thorough beating of Sonnen when they meet.
“I’m going to make sure that every one of his teeth are broken, his arms are broken, his legs are broken. He’s going to not be able to walk out of the Octagon by himself. I can guarantee that,” said Silva to the media. “And I know that he’s listening so the game’s over. No more sh** talking. It’s on now.”
Sonnen fully understands the parameters of his statements and is willing to raise the ante.
“There is no sport, there is no fight in the history of combat where in all of 2012 that’s got as much weight and as much emotion,” said Sonnen about the upcoming fight card. “I’m not playing around. He thinks that’s funny to say he’s going to break my face.”
On Saturday the MMA world will discover if Sonnen’s kryptonite style was real or fabricated.
Trilogy and Tito Farewell Fight
Recent UFC Hall of Fame inductee Tito Ortiz seeks to win the trilogy against Forrest Griffin when they meet on Saturday. It’s the dyed blond haired warrior’s final battle.
“This fight means the world to me. It’ll show on July 7th how much it means to me,” said Ortiz, 37.
The first time Ortiz and Griffin met was also the first time that MMA was allowed in California. That night both gave a rousing performance in Anaheim that proved to be “Fight of the Year” in 2006. Ortiz won the fight but lost the rematch in 2009 that took place in Las Vegas. Both fights were split decisions.
“Obviously we’ve had some history. This is the biggest fight to date,” says Griffin, 33.
Neither fighter intends to lose. Ortiz plans to retire on a winning note and Griffin cannot afford a second consecutive defeat. Both are desperate for a victory.
“I’m not coming in playing around. I’m not coming in talking no smack. I’m coming to fight and Forrest is ready. I’m ready so let’s fight,” said Ortiz.
Middleweights Cung Le (7-2) of California and Canada’s Patrick Cote (18-7) clash in a kickboxer’s delight.
Melvin Guillard (46-11-3) faces Fabricio Camoes (13-6-1) in a lightweight fight.
Constantinos Philippou (10-2) challenges Riki Fukuda (18-5) in a middleweight tussle.
John Alessio (34-15) takes a crack at Shane Roller (10-6) in a lightweight battle.
South Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1) meets Brazil’s Demian Maia (15-4) in a welterweight bout.
Chad Mendes (11-1) and Cody McKenzie (13-2) meet in a featherweight clash.
Ivan Menjivar (24-8) and Mike Easton (12-1) have a bantamweight date.
Gleison Tibau (34-7) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (17-0) meet in a lightweight match up.
Rafaello Oliveira (14-5) and Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-1) will fight in another lightweight bout.