UFC 148 Rewind
Published on July 8 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
Updated on July 9 at 6:48 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
We know Chael Sonnen can talk the talk. In fact, it says here that he’s the Best Shit Talker to ever walk the planet.
And on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Sonnen was walking the walk against Anderson Silva – again!
Just four seconds into the main event, Sonnen put Silva on his back with a beautiful takedown. It was vintage Chael Sonnen 101. He maintained the top position for the rest of the round, prompting one of the judges to score it 10-8.
For the first time in seven rounds against Sonnen, Silva avoided getting put on his back in Round 2. The fighters exchanged strikes and kicks for more than 90 seconds and Sonnen appeared to be getting the best of it.
But then Sonnen made a crucial mistake. He attempted a spinning back fist that missed and then he tripped over Silva’s ankle. Silva immediately took advantage by landing a vicious knee to the downed Sonnen.
As I watched the fight, I thought it was an illegal knee to the head of a downed opponent. However, instant replays appeared to confirm that the knee landed on Sonnen’s chest.
Whatever the case, Sonnen was badly hurt and had to cover up. Silva went for the kill with strikes and hammer fists before referee Yves Lavigne intervened at the 1:50 mark of the second stanza.
After the fight, Sonnen and Silva seemed to put their bad blood behind them. Sonnen said, “The best fighter always wins. The best fighter won tonight.”
Silva, in response to some of Sonnen’s brash pre-fight trash talk, said, “Chael, you should come over to my house for a barbeque.”
Silva improved to an unbelievable 15-0 in his UFC career, defending his middleweight title for the 10th time. He also garnered KO of the Night honors.
Silva hooked up his backers as a minus-280 favorite. Gamblers backing him in a prop bet to win by KO prevailed in the even-money wager.
So what’s next for Silva? He’s cleaned out the 185-pound loop and nobody (other than Sonnen, who won’t get a third chance) appears capable of beating him. The next-tier challengers are Michael Bisping, Mark Munoz, Hector Lombard and Alan Belcher.
A superfight is what the fans want to see but at the post-fight presser when ‘The Spider’ was asked if he’d be interested in fighting light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, Silva quickly responded with a one-word answer, “No.”
Rashad Evans is a possibility and he tweeted last night that he wants the fight. Evans does have the speed and quickness needed to give Silva problems, and the former light heavyweight champ is a great wrestler that would have a strength advantage.
With Georges St. Pierre’s injury and looming bout with Carlos Condit, that’s not an option anytime soon. In other words, Evans appears to be the only fighter that could pose a threat to the long-time middleweight kingpin in the near future.
As for Sonnen, he remains the second-best middleweight in the world without a doubt. But as he himself acknowledged, he was fortunate to get two chances and came up short both times.
Let’s hope he stays in the game because his brash antics are extremely entertaining and good for the sport. Perhaps a matchup with Wanderlei Silva could be next?
In the co-main event, Tito Ortiz’s Hall of Fame career ended in defeat as Forrest Griffin captured a unanimous-decision victory (29-28 on all three cards). Ortiz looked old and slow and even appeared to tire late in the first round.
However, he did have his moments, flooring Griffin two separate times with big right hands. But as the fight wore on, Griffin was clearly more active with his strikes and kicks. In short, he outworked Tito. And Ortiz’s battered face was the proof.
Griffin hooked up his backers as a favorite in the minus-320 range.
The 40-year old Cung Le won for the first time in the UFC in his second fight for the promotion. Le won a unanimous-decision over Patrick Cote (30-27 on all three cards).
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–I was shocked to see that Sonnen only got a $50,000 paycheck for UFC 148. Meanwhile, Ortiz brought home 250 large and the 75K for Fight of the Night honors. UPDATE: Steve Cofield tells me that Sonnen probably made seven figures. The 50K is just the salary given to the commission. Jason Floyd tells me that he’s heard Anderson Silva made nearly $7 million.
–Chad Mendes was the biggest favorite (-600ish) on the UFC 148 card and he demonstrated why with a 31-second KO of Cody McKenzie, who might get cut after being floored by a punch to the body.
–Damian Maia caught a break when ‘The Stun Gun’ (Dong Hyun Kim) went down with an undisclosed injury 41 seconds into the bout and immediately tapped. Maia cashed tickets as a plus-125 underdog (risk $100 to win $125).
–Melvin Guillard bounced back from back-to-back defeats to win a unanimous-decision over Fabricio Cameos as a minus-300 ‘chalk.’ Guillard had to gain confidence by escaping several submission attempts by Cameos on the ground where ‘The Young Assassin’ has been vulnerable throughout his career.
–The last fight of Rampage Jackson’s UFC contract will come against Glover Teixeira at UFC 153 in Rio, according to multiple reports on Monday.
–I like Mark Munoz on Wednesday night as a short underdog in the UFC’s next event on FUEL TV.