The biggest fight in the UFC to date is here.
It’s the rematch between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen for the main event of UFC 148 fight fans and in case you missed their last fight, I guess you have no idea how big the rematch actually is.
Despite Chael Sonnen doing one of the most brilliant promotional jobs in the history of sport, there was no greater demand than usual to see UFC 117 on Aug. 7, 2010, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Anderson Silva put his middleweight title on the line against Sonnen that night and, despite an hilarious and completely unexpected verbal war waged by Sonnen in the pre-fight build-up, it did little to change minds. The fight was expected to be a one-sided rout when it was made and, despite Sonnen’s best efforts, when the bell rang that night, most still believed that Silva would squash his loud-mouthed challenger.
The perception was that they were two different calibers of fighters and that Silva’s skill would easily overshadow Sonnen’s bombast. Less than a minute into the fight, though, a straight left from Sonnen nearly floored Silva. About 100 seconds into the bout, Sonnen had landed four or five significant left hands, which left the champion reeling.
Halfway through the opening round, Sonnen was on top and driving his shoulder into Silva’s head, bouncing it off the mat like a basketball. Jaws dropped around the arena as the realization hit one, then another, then another: Sonnen was doing everything he said he would do, and more. His words were no mere idle boast. It was reality and Silva was being pummeled like he’d never been before.
Nearly two years later, they meet again Saturday in the main event of UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden in a bout that has clearly captured the public’s attention. It’s easily the UFC’s biggest fight of the year, and while it won’t do the kinds of numbers on pay-per-view that, say, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. did when he sold 1.5 million units for his May 5 bout with Miguel Cotto, it’s going to do the kinds of numbers that will make Silva and Sonnen very rich men.
The MGM Grand Garden will be full and the UFC expects a Nevada record paid gate of around $7 million.
Much has been made of Sonnen’s 23 minutes of dominance, and of Silva’s dramatic late-fight triangle choke that saved the fight, and his title.
Sonnen proved a point that night, but so, too, did Silva. Despite a brutal beating, Sonnen was unable to finish Silva and that inability cost Sonnen a championship.
Sonnen has walked around to news conferences and public appearances with a replica title belt again disparaging Silva, often to comical effect, but clearly, when the bell rings on Saturday, it has to be on Sonnen’s mind: What do I have to do to finish this guy?
Can Chael Sonnen beat Anderson Silva in UFC 148? Bodog Sportsbook has the odds.
Chael Sonnen 4.50
Anderson Silva 1.20Comments