With the possible exception of this summer’s Batman vs. Bane “Gothamweight” battle, I haven’t looked forward to a fight more in 2012 than Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II.
And I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way. Heck, Dana White said this fight was on track to do UFC 100-esque numbers on PPV! That’s huge! And it would only require about a million more households, give or take, tune into this fight than the last one. Which…could totally happen. Hey, after the 2012 the UFC has had thus far, I think a little boundless optimism is in order, wouldn’t you say?
In that spirit, I’m going to go ahead and completely ruin UFC 148’s main event for you. See, this fight has had some dramatic build-up, but I see the actual bout playing out one of only a few ways.
So not only am I going to break down how this fight ends, I’m going to predict how said ending would effect fan perceptions of Anderson, Chael, and whatever else I feel like elaborating on. Like Utau the Watcher (gotta stop with the nerdy references!), Jacob from “Lost” (whoops) or Nostradamus himself (I give up) let’s explore all the possible realities of Silva/Sonnen II, starting with:
Scenario 1: Silva Crushes Sonnen
How the Fight Plays Out: Anderson Silva, unhindered by a rib injury as he was the first time around, comes out mad as a hatter against a non-roiding Sonnen. Combining expert Muay Thai with bullet-time physics, "The Spider" enters the Matrix and makes Chael another notch on his highlight reel. With the recent "knock out all your teeth, break all your bones" tirade from Silva, this is the version of the fight most fans seem to be expecting.
Anderson Silva is: The man. The myth. The greatest of all time. If Silva starches Sonnen in spectacular fashion, it will more or less signal the end of the "Greatest Ever" debate amongst most MMA fans (if it wasn't already). Silva will become to MMA what The Beatles are to rock and roll: most agree they're the best ever, and those that disagree can't seem to agree on their candidate. Until Jon Jones wins a few more, that is.
Chael Sonnen is: Donesky. A second loss to Anderson Silva - especially a total thrashing - would force Sonnen to eat a load of crow so huge, no mortal man could survive. Two losses to the reigning champ would shut him out of the title picture, and keep perhaps the UFC's best "promo guy" on the sidelines of irrelevancy.
Other factors are: Anderson Silva will never sell a PPV again. Seriously, if he can smash his greatest rival with ease, he will have a tough time convincing Joe E. Public that his titles defences are worth tuning in for anymore. Unless a superfight with GSP or Jon Jones is in his future, a convincing win here could see the Anderson Silva retirement rumours given new life.
Scenario 2: Sonnen smothers Anderson for the decision
How the fight plays out: Same as their first fight, only Sonnen doesn't pull a Sonnen, avoids any last minute submission attempts, and takes a wide unanimous decision. It's a one-sided pounding match, and for 5 full rounds Chael's the guy swinging the hammer.
Anderson Silva is: Exposed as a mofo. If Chael can replicate the success he found last time - without falling victim to a Hail Mary triangle in the closing moments - than Anderson's stock plummets faster than Roy Nelson trying to base jump. His wrestling was always a weakness, the critics will say, and Andy's UFC resume is nearly devoid of world-class wrestlers. They'll say he fought the perfect competition. Oh sure, people will still speak of him as an all-time great - the same way Fedor gets props for his career in the same breath as folks claim he's a can crusher who always fought hand-picked opponents.
Chael Sonnen is: Ric Flair in 4 oz gloves. If the gangster from Oregon can stretch his effective 23 and-a-half minute performance from the first fight into 25 minutes, than get ready for the "Sonnen Era" to begin. Seriously, you thought he was annoying, overplayed, and downright grating now - just wait until he's the UFC Middleweight champion of the world. Every MMA blog will be renamed "The Adventures of Chael Sonnen, featuring those other guys in board shorts who also sometimes fight, too!"
And the really bad news is: this will be the defining moment for the "wrestling is killing MMA!" Crowd. If the most proficient and effective striker this sport has ever known is ground out like a cigarette butt on the Octagon floor for 25 minutes, expect to hear lots of complaining about the boring, point fighting, sweaty man-wrestling spectacle MMA is becoming.
Scenario 3: Repeat of the last fight
How the fight plays out: Like the title says, in this possible outcome, nothing changes. Sonnen's wrestling is still a big problem for Anderson, while Andy's BJJ is still a big problem for Sonnen. Silva takes another beating before pulling out the miraculous W.
Anderson Silva is: Done. Though he once again overcame adversity and showed his champion's heart, another dismal showing against Chael will have fans speculating that Silva has "lost it" and isn’t the same fighter he once was. Having set the bar so high for himself in previous fights, his status as "the greatest" will be severely challenged by the nearly 1 hour of footage of him being crushed by Sonnen. Let the retirement talk commence.
Chael Sonnen is: Down, but not out. While a second loss to Silva will eliminate him from the title picture for some time, we all saw his remarkable ability to spin victory from defeat following his first loss to Silva. A second loss - via one-sided crushing, followed by miracle submission - will only add fuel to those flames. Chael may be out of the title hunt, but there's still plenty of big fights for him out there. Perhaps he can continue the feud with Team Nogueira vs. Lyoto Machida or Little Nog at LHW.
But the X factor is: IT'S A CONSPIRACY! Seriously though, remember how many folks thought the ending of the first Anderson/Chael fight was a "work" when it first happened? Those rumours have been mostly put to bed, but another "fluke" finish and watch them spring up all over again. Chael is the true champion! The UFC is protecting Anderson! I know it's absurd but give folks two miracle fights in a row and I guarantee they'll believe anything.
Scenario 4: Dance Dance Revolution!
How the fight plays out: Remember the last time Anderson Silva got angry before a fight? Remember how awesome a spectacle the outcome was? No, I’m not talking about the Vitor fight – I’m talking Demian Maia, baby! This outcome assumes that Andy is so mad about everything Sonnen's said that he refuses to engage, runs around the ring, hides behind the ref, and generally amuses himself and no one else.
Anderson Silva is: SO. F*CKING. F*CKED. That's my impression of Dana White, talking to Anderson in his dressing room after the fight. If Anderson pulls off another Ultimate Staring Contest world title victory, Dana will be put in the uncomfortable position of having to stay true to his word, and fire the reigning 185-pound champion and dominant P4P king. Hey, it’ll make for some interesting (read: gossipy as a mofo) headlines at least.
Chael Sonnen is: Either King of the World, or equally as f*cked – I haven’t quite made up my mind. Demian Maia came off like a hero when Anderson danced around in front of him, but he also hadn’t talked reams of trash about Anderson’s wife and country, either. Combined with the Bisping fight, a lacklustre performance in this fight will likely have fans saying he was overrated all along.
If this does happen, thank God that: This fight didn’t happen in Brazil. Dana White was furious when Anderson gave his interpretative dance lesson during the main event to the first ever Abu Dhabi card – could you imagine his reaction in front of 70,000 screaming Brazilians? On second thought, that might be the only crowd that would give Andy’s antics a standing O.
Scenario 5: Steven Segal finally teaches Anderson the secrets of Dim Mak
How the fight plays out: A minute or two of feeling out, followed by Anderson unleashing a howl worthy of Bruce Lee, and THEN unleashing the ultra secret Dim Mak/Touch of Death/5 Point Palm Exploding Heart technique Steven Seagal finally decided to reveal to him. Not only is Chael instantly killed, his entire being is absorbed by Silva Shang Tsung-style. FATALITY!
Anderson Silva is: great sure, but nothing more than a disciple at the feet of the true “baddest man on the planet” – Mr. Under Siege himself. Yep, turns out Seagal isn’t just some crazy, over-the-hill movie star looking to inject his name in the conversation any way he can – he’s actually a legit badass who imparts incredible wisdom to seemingly accomplished MMA fighters. Who knew?
Chael Sonnen is: best not to speak ill of the dead.
And you just know that somewhere out there: Greg Jackson, Javier Mendez, and Matt Hume are looking up Chuck Norris' phone number.
By Elton Hobson, who can’t really see through time. Otherwise, he’d know exactly what kind of reaction this article is going to get and be ready with quippy comebacks like “too long, eh? Funny, that’s what your Mom said about me as well.” OH SNAP! Also, I’ve been off getting married/having a honeymoon/being lazy after that craziness, so…welcome back everyone!