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UFC 136: Chael Sonnen's Next In Line

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Chael Sonnen is the only man in the UFC that has been able to bring the fight to Anderson Silva, almost defeating the champion before being submitted in the 5th round. If he defeats Brian Stann at UFC 136, I feel he’s earned another crack at the belt. He’s easily the most controversial fighter in the UFC roster; brandishing a loud mouth and some of the best MMA wrestling in the sport, he’s single-handedly become one of the most talked about fighters in recent history. His savvy with a microphone is unparalleled among fighters and he was even cultivating a bright political career before he was charged with money laundering. If anyone can talk their way into another title fight, it’s Chael but has he earned it?

Is Silva versus Henderson better at 205?

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"Why would the UFC give its middleweight champion a fight against a guy who doesn’t want to fight at middleweight? Instead -- if Silva beats Sonnen/Stann and Hendo beats Rua -- doesn’t it make more sense to entice "The Spider" into a fight at light heavyweight, where Henderson will be most dangerous and where Silva has looked like an absolute wrecking machine in two previous appearances? That way, in the somewhat unlikely event that Silva were to lose, he’d still be marketable as the UFC middleweight champion. If he won, well, that would only make the possibility of a fight against Jones seem all the more real." Gotta say, it makes sense.

Silva Makes Splash in 'Like Water': A Review

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If there’s one topic in MMA that never fails to fuel the speculation of media and fans, it’s this: What’s going on in Anderson Silva’s head? The language barrier doesn’t help with North Americans, and the translations are loose (and usually boring). There are the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde antics in the cage. There are interconnected associations with such things as Steven Seagal and paintball and Big Macs. Yet above all else, there’s the long-tenured, record-breaking champion with a captivating -- if unintentional -- sense of mystery. A new film entitled "Like Water" will premiere April 21 in Manhattan at the Tribeca Film Festival, and it pulls the curtain back to reveal (in cussword-included subtitles) Anderson Silva in a context you wouldn’t expect. How? Filmmaker Pablo Croce centers on travail. Rather than dog-earring the illustrious side of Silva’s MMA career, Croce captures scrutiny and derision in painstaking detail within a three-month window that begins post-Demian Maia at UFC 112 and ends with Chael Sonnen at UFC 117. There are glimpses into other aspects (his family life, training, idling, interacting with fans), but the gravity of the film is based on a walls-closing-in sense of situation. Silva spends a lot of time negating the negative. It’s not that we see Dana White peeved and telling Jim Rome he’ll cut the champion if he made a mockery of the Octagon again; it’s what you get out of Silva watching it, absorbing his own bizarre behavior. It’s that you see him lament to Lyoto Machida-san that "everybody wants a brawl." We see self-reflective Silva, dealing in issues of esteem. It’s not long before things shift to the montages of Chael Sonnen, who became (what he thought was) the mouthpiece of public sentiment in bashing Silva at every turn. Through the entire lead-up to the epic battle at UFC 117, Silva takes things in while maintaining an opiate calm. Yet there are glimpses into moods, caught when Silva hangs Soares out to dry with one-word answers during an interview. Or when he tells his friend/teammate, "You’re screwed until I forget you’re screwed" out of frustration with his fight. You see him in ordinary situations (like at the airport) doing extraordinary things (like putting his belt through security). What you don’t see is Silva cracking under surmounting pressure, but the pressure is real and ends up being the star of the film. And that becomes the documentary’s merit; it not only depicts the mettle of Silva on multiple levels, but it peers into the fight game in general through the back door. As much as we are shown Silva in intimate situations, you also see Sonnen intimately. We see the wirework beneath the surface and, as cliché as it seems, a human side to the fighters all too commonly regarded as products. In other words, you empathize with Silva, which has long been something foreign to us.

Anderson Silva Film to Premiere in April

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A film about the Ultimate Fighting Championship's middleweight champion will have its debut next month. This year's ESPN/Tribeca Sports Film Festival will include the worldwide premiere of Like Water, a documentary about Anderson Silva, according to a list released Monday. The festival runs from April 20 through May 1 in New York. Filmmakers followed Silva last year as he prepared for his Aug. 7 fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 117. During that training, Silva injured his ribs, an incident addressed by the documentary, according to UFC President Dana White. The Sonnen fight proved to be the most difficult bout of Silva's UFC career. The challenger controlled the action on the ground for most of five rounds before succumbing to Silva's triangle choke with less than two minutes remaining. Specific movie times haven't been released yet.

Shogun Eyes Silva Showdown

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Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua has reiterated his desire to step into the Octagon with Anderson Silva, but is refusing to look beyond his next opponent Jon Jones. Rua defends his light heavyweight crown against the highly-rated youngster 'Bones' Jones at UFC 128 in New Jersey, but he admits he would jump at the chance to fight the middleweight champion. "Now I'm focused on Jon Jones," Rua told Brazil's Tatame. "It's a sin to speak about my next fight when I'm thinking about a man like Jon Jones. So I'm focused on him, but I already answered. "It's obvious I'd fight Anderson. I respect him as a friend and a professional, but I also am a professional. Yes, I'd fight him." However, a potential all-Brazilian showdown may be some way off. With Silva having recently dispatched compatriot Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, he awaits welterweight champion Georges St Pierre, should the Canadian see off challenger Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, with 'Rush' expected to relinquish his title and move up to the middleweight division.

Mario Yamasaki Surprised with Anderson’s KO over Belfort

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How did it feel to watch so closely one of the most expected fights in all history? To me it was wonderful, great, not only because of the repercussion the fight had in Brazil, but around the world. The whole world was expecting this fight. Vitor was one of the last hopes to defeat Anderson, and you saw what happened... Were you surprised with a knockout on the first round? Did you think it’d last longer? Of course. Until that moment Vitor was winning the fight, he had attacked and taken Anderson down. I thought it’d be an interesting fight, but the kick Anderson did caught everybody by surprise, including Vitor. UFC’s coming to Rio in August. Do you hope to be invited to judge some bout? I’m cheering for them to call me for UFC Rio, and I think they will. It’d be stupid if they didn’t (laughs). The whole world is waiting for this event to happen.

UFC Prez White Sold on Silva-St. Pierre

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Sometimes, a fight that never made much sense suddenly starts to make a lot of sense because, really, it's the only fight left that makes any sense at all. "What happened is they're both close to cleaning out their division," White told ESPN.com, on his change of heart. "If Anderson beats Vitor Belfort and St. Pierre beats Jake Shields, seriously, what's left for them? "It's a fun fight to do."

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