From the Las Vegas Sun, Belfort trainer Sean Tompkin talks UFC 117:
"Nothing against Chael, but I think he talks better than he fights," Tompkins said. "I'll be front row (at UFC 117) studying both of them because that's my job. I think Chael will talk himself into the fight but, ultimately, Anderson will knock him out."
Tompkins went on to admit that, although Belfort won't say it, his entire camp would look forward to an opportunity it's already trained for and anticipated in the past.
The fight between Silva and Belfort has been targeted for three different events, all of which eventually fell apart because of injury. Silva was forced to pull out of UFC 108 and 109 because of elbow surgery before Belfort withdrew from 112.
The two fighters also have a history, as they trained together at Black House gym in the past.
Considering all that, Tompkins said choosing between Silva and Sonnen for an opponent really is a no-brainer.
"It's not personal, but it's a little more personal (with Silva)," Tompkins said. "I think Chael will try to pick a fight, but that's the only way he becomes popular or famous because we all know he's a boring fighter.
Steve Cofield adds:
Belfort's been waiting for this one, for a while. As pointed out by Brett Okamoto of the Las Vegas Sun, the Silva-Belfort fight has been dumped three times. Silva couldn't fight at UFC 108 and 109 after elbow surgery and then Belfort's shoulder nixed the potential battle at UFC 112.
The Sonnen-Silva prefight and fight should be dynamite, but if the champ rolls to a win, a fight against the fellow Brazilian Belfort will be a mega-fight as well. Belfort isn't into trash talk and hyping things but there should be good banter between Tompkins and Silva's manager Ed Soares.
While I agree with Tompkins that Silva is the likely winner. I also feel compelled to point out that Sonnen is exactly the kind of fighter that Vitor Belfort has struggled with since Randy Couture beat him at UFC 15 in 1997. Couture went on to really put an exclamation point on his dominance over Vitor at UFC 49.
Dan Henderson worked Vitor pretty good at PRIDE 32 in 2006.
But since that fight Vitor hasn't lost and he's KO'd two decent wrestlers in Terry Martin and Matt Lindland, although neither of those guys implemented a ground and pound attack or even tried. In Lindland's case, he didn't get the chance. Terry Martin didn't have the sense to try.
But in MMA styles make fights and Belfort's hand speed and crisp boxing, plus his southpaw stance make him a very compelling stylistic match-up for Anderson. While Sonnen would seem a lock to beat Belfort, I like Vitor's chances to beat Anderson a lot more.