Anderson Silva tries to fend off a takedown by Chael Sonnen during their… (David Becker / Associated…)
The biggest MMA card of the year takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas, with UFC 148 headlined on pay-per-view by the UFC middleweight title rematch between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Chael Sonnen. Sonnen dominated Silva for nearly five rounds in their first fight before succumbing to a late triangle armbar submission. Sonnen has talked trash nonstop for years about Silva and an angry Silva lashed out verbally at Sonnen earlier in the week. The grudge match has led to UFC's highest grossing Las Vegas event ever.
UFC middleweight title: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
Since 2006, Anderson Silva has reigned as the most dominant champion in UFC history. 14-0 in the UFC, Silva has had little difficulty with most opponents. The one significant exception was Sonnen, who dominated Silva with wrestling and was close to winning in decisive fashion when Silva caught him in a submission in the fifth round of their first encounter. Now, Sonnen gets his chance to pull off the win he almost had and end Silva's long streak of dominance. A big question is how much a rib injury played into Silva's performance the first time. Adding to the intrigue is that Sonnen has mounted the most aggressive war of words in MMA history against Silva and clearly gotten under the champion's skin. Silva will have the opportunity to vanquish his rival in much more dominant fashion. It's a fight with very high stakes.
Round 1. The Brazilian fans in attendance are loudly chanting that Sonnen is going to die in Portuguese. Loud Silva chants as the fight starts. Silva throws a few big punches and Sonnen takes Silva down 9 seconds into the fight. Sonnen immediately drops down punches on Silva. The crowd begins chanting USA. Silva is very active from the bottom but he isn't attempting to stand back up. Sonnen gets Silva near the cage and looks to isolate one of Silva's arms. Silva holds Sonnen and prevents Sonnen from getting enough distance to do damage. Silva briefly looks for an arm triangle from the bottom. Sonnen gets out and looks again to isolate one of Silva's arms for a submission of his own. Sonnen drops down some elbows and works into mount position with 50 seconds left in the round. 10-8 Sonnen.
Round 2. Sonnen aggressively moves forward to close the distance and grab a hold of Silva. They clinch against the cage. Sonnen throws a few knees from the clinch. Sonnen drops down but Silva defends. Silva grabs Sonnen's shorts and lands a couple punches. Silva opens up with punches and kicks and Sonnen goes for a desperation takedown. Silva blocks it. Sonnen misses a spinning strike and Silva lands some punches on the ground. Sonnen gets up but is dropped by a punch. Silva lands a few more punches on the ground and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Anderson Silva, TKO, round 2.
Silva after the fight says he doesn't have a problem with Sonnen, despite Sonnen disrespecting his country. Silva embraces Sonnen, says he wants to show manners, and invites Sonnen to a BBQ at his house.
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
This is the third bout between Ortiz and Griffin. The first time they fought was in 2006, setting a very short lived UFC buy rate record. Ortiz got the decision but many felt Griffin won that bout. They rematched in 2009, with Griffin winning the decision. Now they fight in a rubber match. Adding to the stakes is that this has been promoted as Ortiz's retirement bout. Ortiz is one of the most important figures in the history of the UFC.
Round 1. Griffin throws the first strike of the fight, a head kick. Ortiz answers with a right punch. Ortiz swings wildly but Griffin ducks under. Griffin connects with a pair of straight punches. Ortiz takes Griffin down a minute in. Ortiz drops a big elbow. Griffin looks to get up but eats a couple punches in the process. Griffin finally does get back up less than two minutes into the round. They stand in the pocket and exchange punches, with each man landing. Griffin lands a nice combination including an uppercut and hook. Ortiz shoots in from long distance but Griffin defends easily. Griffin lands a series of straight punches and brushes off Ortiz as he tries to move in closer. Griffin lands a body kick and leg kick and circles out of the way of Ortiz. Ortiz looks for a takedown at the close of the round. Ortiz was very effective for the period he had Griffin down, but Griffin had a substantial enough lead in the striking to get the round. 10-9 Griffin.