Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen have to be separated at the UFC 148 press conference at Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, in Las Vegas. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The main event of UFC 148 is one of the most anticipated fights in years as Anderson Silva (31-4; 14-0 UFC) once again takes on Chael Sonnen (27-11-1; 6-4 UFC). The fight is for Silva's UFC Middleweight title, and will be The Spider's 10th defense of that belt. This is also a fight between the #1 and #2 Middleweights in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings. The UFC 148 PPV card airs live Saturday night July 7 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
At this point, what else really is there to say about this fight? Silva and Sonnen first met back at UFC 117 in 2010. At the time, Sonnen seemed like another easily dispatched challenger, but for 23 minutes he shocked the world, looking like the man to finally dethrone Silva. Then, a flash triangle from Silva, and it was over. Since then, Sonnen has been very focused on building hype for the rematch through a series of professional wrestling style antics. He's got his ardent supporters, and his haters, but no matter how you view Sonnen, he's definitely the most interesting challenge Silva has faced in a long time.
How do these two stack up?
Silva: 37 years old | 6'2" | 77" reach
Sonnen: 35 years old | 6'1" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Anderson "The Spider" Silva got here by being nothing less than the most dominant fighter in the history of MMA. Since his UFC debut in 2006, he's been completely unstoppable, winning an unprecedented 14 straight UFC fights. Of those 14, Sonnen is the only one who ever seemed to have him in trouble. He's the best striker, and for my money, the best fighter we've ever seen in MMA. Since the first Sonnen fight, he's scored the legendary front kick KO of Vitor Belfort, and completely dismantled Yushin Okami in front of a hometown crowd in Brazil.
Chael Sonnen is an interesting and unique case in MMA. The Team Quest fighter had a bust of a UFC run in 2005/2006 going just 1-2 before being cut. He had a bit more success in the WEC, where he should have been the final WEC Middleweight champion, then returned to the UFC, losing his return fight to Demian Maia (by, of course, triangle choke). After 3 wins he challenged Silva, and essentially rewrote his career, playing up his persona with an absolute mountain of trash talking. After the loss to Silva, he was suspended for a year due to a failed drug test, plus dealt with outside legal issues where he was guilty of money laundering. He's now on a 2 fight win streak since that suspension.
Why should you care?
Seriously? I am having a tough time remembering the last time I was this excited for a fight. Silva is always a reason to watch, and this one even more so, partly because of Sonnen's success last time, and (I grudgingly admit) partly because of his shtick. I am in the camp of people who find Sonnen just annoying and am hoping he goes away after this fight, but that does make me care about the result more than normal. Honestly, I can't possibly see not being excited for this.
More UFC 148 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.