UFC 148 Preview

Since October 2006, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu “Spider” known as Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion) has crawled dominantly up the Middleweight Division spout. Down came the rain of Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, which almost washed the spider out. With two minutes left, the sun, in the form of a triangle choke, came and dried out all the rain. Thus, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Spider went up the spout again.

Who would’ve thought a live enactment of a well renowned nursery rhyme would’ve taken place in such a violent sport?

With the exception of one bout in his storied UFC career, Silva has posted some historic, almost uncanny statistics. With names like Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin and Dan Henderson on his resume, who would’ve thought a jaw-jacking wrestler from the “Mean Streets” of West Linn, Oregon would be the one to make the Phenom look human?

Here’s a look at how “The American Gangster” challenged the mystique of Silva in their first meeting almost two years ago:

-In 13 UFC contests, Silva has spent only 10 minutes with his back to the ground. Against Sonnen, he resided in that uncomfortable position for almost 20.

-A takedown defense of 84% gives Silva the best percentage at warding off such attacks.  At UFC 117, Sonnen took Silva down at will.

-Silva has the highest striking percentage in the history of the sport (68.5%).  Sonnen out landed Silva in total strikes, 320 (a UFC record) to the champion’s 64.

As flooring as these bullets are, the one statistic that matters most, was earned by the one who was under duress. With 1:50 remaining in the fifth round (the latest stoppage in UFC history), Silva locked in a triangle choke that helped him secure his seventh title defense.

In the aftermath of this epic outing, some hidden elements came into the light. First, it was revealed a month after the bout (August 2010) that Sonnen tested positive for anabolic steroids. As a result, Sonnen received a one year suspension, courtesy of the California State Athletic Commission. In October, Silva noted a he suffered a cracked rib in the first round. Some question the legitimacy of this claim, even though he was sidelined from action until February 2011.

With mishaps in the rearview, UFC’s most heated rivalry will rekindle its flame Saturday, July 7th at UFC 148, courtesy of Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Looking back at the incomplete clinic that Sonnen put on Silva, it makes absolute sense to consider the possible end of an era. After all, Sonnen took Silva into unfamiliar territory. The problem is, Sonnen, like his colleagues before and after him, became another notch in UFC’s longest winning (14) and title defense (9) streaks.

After much deliberation, I’ve determined the main event of UFC 148 won’t even remotely resemble that of UFC 117.

Sonnen’s inability to close out Silva, in his most dominant position, along with Silva’s frustration towards Sonnen’s verbal spars and the embarrassment of almost losing his title tells me that Silva is going to be a man possessed.

While Sonnen has warranted his status as the number one contender, my expectations are for the Spider to put on an absolute clinic.

Make sure you log in to Take No Prisoners Sports Blog for a recap of this memorable melee.

By Antoine Hoffman

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