Briggs: UFC 148 could be biggest, best ever

If there is a bigger name in the UFC than Anderson “The Spider” Silva, I, nor has the rest of the world ever heard of him. Quite frankly, Silva may be the biggest star to ever step into the octagon. He is the champion of champions; the fighter of all fighters. He is the UFC. By many standards, he has already surpassed any other fighter in the sport’s history with his title defenses and his pure skill. Tabbed as the best “pound-for-pound fighter” in the world, Silva has yet to disappoint.
Silva currently holds a UFC fighting record of 29-4. He last lost on January 20, 2006 when he was disqualified for knocking Yushin Okami out with a kick to the face while on his back. Why was he disqualified you ask? Okami had a knee on the mat. Something Silva could not see from his position.
Silva is currently riding a 12-match streak of consecutive middleweight title defenses. He won the title after beating Rich Franklin in October 2006. Silva is also on a 15-match overall win streak heading into Saturday’s match against Chael Sonnen.
The two first fought in August of 2010 where Silva came out the victor, but not before a controversial call in the final round. If one was to look at the stats from their first match, it was ultimately impossible to say Silva won having not seen the fight.
Sonnen struck Silva just under 90 times over the five-round match. Silva, who is known primarily for his striking, hit Sonnen under 30 times. While that stat seems uncharacteristic of Silva, it must be noted that Silva was on his back for 90 percent of the fight.
So, of course Sonnen is going to have more strikes when he is throwing all body shots with an occasional head shot during his ground-and-pound attack.
But, Silva being the fighter that he is, never gave up and with just over two minutes left in the fight and his title slipping away, Silva slipped his leg around Sonnen’s head and triangle chocked him out to escape with the narrow victory, setting the two up for what is being called “the biggest fight in UFC history” Saturday.
UFC 148: Silva (29-4) vs. Sonnen (28-11-1) II
If one thing was learned in the last fight, it has to be that Sonnen is not going to stand with Silva for any amount of time. Silva is known for luring his prey into his trap by bouncing around the octagon for the first five to seven minutes of the fight. On many occasions, Silva has thrown under 10 strikes before the midway point in the second round.
That is how he wins. He teases his opponent in to coming at him first where he then kicks them in the mouth or just knocks them out with a monster strike. Though these are his specialties, Silva will not be able to do this on Saturday. In the opposite corner will be a beast among men; a hungry beast at that. After Silva/Sonnen I left a sour taste in his mouth, Sonnen has been waiting on his second chance for quite some time.
A winner in 5 of his last 6 fights, with his only loss coming to Silva, Sonnen is no pushover. For a fighter that does most of his damage on the ground, Sonnen will look to bury Silva early just as he did in their first fight. But, with Silva being possibly the fastest fighter ever, that may not be as easy as it was in 2010. The only reason Silva ended up on his back in the first place was thanks to a nice "rock shot" from Sonnen early in the first.
Another thing that makes this second match totally different than the first is that Sonnen has to look out for submission moves from Silva, something he did not worry much about in the first fight. Silva’s game plan is strike first and submit second. Sonnen’s is nearly all take down and ground-and-pound. Silva has never been beaten twice by the same fighter, nor does he forget what happened in the past.
Silva has not fought since August 27 of last year so he will be super ready to get back in the octagon. Some other stats for Silva and Sonnen that people should know is that Silva has landed 68 percent of all strikes thrown, but has only four total takedowns in his career; one coming against Sonnen.
For Sonnen, he has landed under 50 percent of his strikes but has successfully taken down his opponent 43 of 70 tries.
Though many people have Sonnen picked in this fight, I have to stick with the champ and pick Silva to win in five by submission. I do not think Sonnen can win if he stands and I also don’t think he can stop all of the submission moves that Silva can put people in from his back. The chances weigh in Silva’s corner slightly. Silva in round five via submission.