UFC 148 comes to us live from Las Vegas this Saturday night and is headlined by one of the biggest rematches in recent MMA history. Long time Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva defends his title against challenger Chael Sonnen. Back at UFC 117 on August 7, 2010 , Sonnen beat up Silva for 4 and a half rounds, and was well on his way to winning the Middleweight Title, when seemingly out of nowhere, Silva caught Sonnen in a triangle choke and got the tap out. Sonnen is the king of trash talkers, so he’s been saying for almost 2 years that he won that fight…Saturday night, the talking ends, and the fists fly! But, Silva/Sonnen II is not the only interesting fight on the card, let’s take a look at the six(!) fights that will air on the PPV, and what I think will happen there!
Mike Easton vs. Ivan Menjivar
Menjivar was originally going to fight Renan Barao here at UFC 148, but Barao got moved into the Interim Bantamweight Title fight against Urijah Faber (which has since been moved to UFC 149), and Easton steps in here. Easton is on a 7 fight win streak, including a 2-0 record in the UFC. Menjivar is on a 3 fight winning streak, winning his last 3 fights since moving over from the WEC. This will likely be a battle of wills, and if I’m Menjivar, I probably try to take this to the ground, and avoid Easton’s hands. That being said, Easton seems like he’s putting it all together right now, I’m going to go with Easton by KO/TKO.
Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie
Mendes fights for the first time since getting knocked out at the end of the first round in his attempt at taking the Featherweight Title off of Jose Aldo. Mendes is a wrestling machine, but shooting for double legs against McKenzie can be deadly, as he is a submission master, especially with the guillotine choke. McKenzie has lost 2 of his last three fights though, so both guys need this win, and it’s McKenzie’s debut at 145 pounds. I see Mendes finding another way to get McKenzie to the ground and riding him out to a Decision win. Probably not the most exciting fight of the night, but Mendes gets back in the win column.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia
Maia is a submission expert, but had a terribly boring fight back when he fought Anderson Silva for the Middleweight Title. This will be his debut at 170 pounds, so you have to wonder about the weight cut for him. Maia lost two of his last three, dropping decisions to UFC on Fuel 4 headliners Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman, but getting a decision victory over Jorge Santiago. Kim on the other hand has only lost once in his pro career, and that was to UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit about a year ago. I think Kim is a tough matchup for Maia’s first foray into the Welterweight division, and I think Kim will get the win by Decision…but to do that, he’ll need to keep the fight standing more often than not.
Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote
Le was originally set to fight Rich Franklin in a much bigger sounding fight, but when Vitor Belfort had to pull out of the UFC 147 main event against Wanderlei Silva, Franklin got moved to that spot, where he earned the unanimous decision victory. Cote has gone 4-0 in his four fights since a three fight losing streak sent him out of the UFC. I think Le is a super exciting fighter, but Cote is a much more well rounded MMA striker, which is a different animal than Le’s upbringing in Sanshou. This one could go either way, but I’m betting on someone going to sleep. If I had to guess, I think Cote wears Le down and gets a TKO in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
This is Tito Ortiz’s swan song, as he is retiring after this fight. He’ll also be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame the night before this fight. This is the third fight between the two, with Ortiz winning their first meeting by split decision in 2006, and Griffin winning their last meeting, also by split decision back in 2009. Griffin has won 2 of his last three, with that win over Ortiz, a decision win over Rich Franklin, and his most recent fight, where he got knocked out 11 months ago by Shogun Rua. Ortiz on the other hand is on a 2 fight losing streak, and has lost 6 of his last 8 (with 1 win and 1 draw sprinkled in). Ortiz’s one win in his last 8 fights was a shocking submission of Ryan Bader a year ago, but since then he has taken TKO losses to Rashad Evans and Little Nog. Ortiz is at the end of his career for a reason, and while I completely agree with him going into the Hall of Fame, he’s going to go out on the losing end I believe, as even though I think Griffin’s best days may be quickly passing him by as well, he is 4 years younger, and in my eyes, he knocks Ortiz out in the 2nd round.
For the UFC Middleweight Title
Anderson Silva (C) vs. Chael Sonnen
Well, we all know what happened last time as mentioned above. Since that fight, Sonnen has dealt with a suspension for elevated testosterone, been found guilty of criminal charges, and oh yeah, gone 2-0 in the UFC, with a submission win over Brian Stann, and a decision victory over Michael Bisping. Silva on the other hand has defended his title twice, with KO/TKO victories over Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami. After the last fight, Silva claimed to have a rib injury. If true, and he still found a way to win, I think that makes it very interesting. Sonnen won that fight for four and a half rounds, and made one mistake and got caught. So, Sonnen can fight a great fight, make one mistake, and lose again. Silva on the other hand has shown that even when apparently hurt, he is always dangerous. Personally, I think Sonnen had the night of his life last time, and didn’t get the job done. I see Silva knocking Sonnen out, and afterwards, Sonnen will still complain about the stoppage, even if it’s a great stoppage. If Silva wins, where does he go from here is an interesting question that we may need to examine after the show if that does in fact happen!
So, what do you think? Who’s winning this HUGE rematch? What other fights are you looking forward to?