UFC 148 takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, July 7th. The facebook prelims begin at 7:25 pm est, followed by the FX prelims at 8:00pm est, and the main card starts at 10:00pm est on ppv. The long awaited rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen is finally upon us, after coming dangerously close to being cancelled. It would’ve been nice to see this fight happen in Brazil, but as long as we get to see these two finally throw down, it could happen in Dana’s backyard for all I care (oh wait, it is). This event will also feature former champion Tito Ortiz’ last fight in the UFC and his subsequent retirement from the sport. There are some very interesting match ups on this card, right down to the last preliminary bout. I really can’t wait until Saturday night, so lets get right down to it…
Anderson Silva (31-4) vs. Chael Sonnen (27-11-1)
This is the rematch of their 2010 fight of the year performance, where Silva was battered all 5 rounds, until he submitted Sonnen with less than 2 minutes left on the clock. Since then, Sonnen has gone on a disrespectful tirade of WWE proportions trying to get another shot at the champ. Silva is widely accepted as the greatest mma fighter of all time, combining laser beam precision striking with a black belt in BJJ on the mat. He’s undefeated in the UFC, holding the record for most consecutive wins (14), and the most consecutive title defenses (9). Sonnen is primarily a wrestler, but he has been working on his striking over the years. He doesn’t pack a ton of power in his punches, but he is very active from the top position. As we all know, Silva claimed to have an injured rib in their first meeting, and Sonnen was suspended by the commission for showing a 17:1 T/E ratio in the post fight urinalysis. Stylistically, this is the worst possible opponent for Silva, who hasn’t faced many wrestlers in his 6 year stint with the UFC. They have both been training their all around games, but you can bet that Silva has focused on takedown defense, and Sonnen has been working on his submission defense. At the start of their first fight, Silva was actually able to stuff a few takedown attempts, but he discounted the striking of Sonnen, which clearly surprised him. I don’t think Silva will make the same mistake this time. Silva will keep his guard high, working his incredible footwork to befuddle his opponent, while setting up his devastating punches and kicks. There is no safe position for Sonnen in this fight, he is at a disadvantage standing, and he has very poor submission defense (accounting for 8 of his 11 losses). If Sonnen does manage to win this fight, it will be by outlasting Silva for all 5 rounds in hopes of grinding out a decision. Silva has very little chance of winning a decision here, because the fact is, Silva will finish him before that if things go his way. I don’t see the mental game as much of a factor, because even if he did get into Silva’s head, Sonnen also put a lot of pressure on himself with all the smack talk. Chael Sonnen on his best day, after failing his drug test, fought Anderson Silva on his worst day with a rib injury, and he still lost… I think we will see the real Anderson Silva out there on Saturday night, rededicated and more motivated than ever. Silva could win this any way he wants, and I think he WANTS to smash Sonnen’s face… He usually gets what he wants.
Winner: Anderson Silva
Tito Ortiz (16-10-1) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-7)
One of the least anticipated rubber matches in history is finally coming to fruition on Saturday night… Well, at least we don’t have to watch these guys fight other opponents, and it does seem that the stars have aligned to ensure this fight would happen. It may be completely irrelevant in most ways, but it’s still a very interesting fight in a sense. Ortiz is a true veteran of the sport, spending nearly his entire career with the UFC and fighting the best they had to offer. He currently has the record for most fights in the UFC (26), and the most consecutive title defenses at light heavyweight (5). Ortiz is a wrestler who does his best work from the top position, but he has been working on his striking for a long time and has made some progress. The problem with Ortiz is that he’s a dinosaur in the sport, and he has been plagued with injuries from head to toe. Griffin is a TUF champion who also held the light heavyweight title at one point (briefly). He’s a tall and lanky fighter with a long reach, and he seems to fight harder as the fight progresses. In their first meeting, Ortiz won a razor thin controversial decision over Griffin, and it won fight of the year back in 2006. Forrest clearly won the 2nd fight using his long reach to score on Tito from the outside, while stopping as many takedowns as he could. The only time Forrest was ever in trouble against Tito was after being put on his back, where Tito rained down his patented elbow strikes from the guard, ripping Forrest open in the process. I would say this fight goes exactly as it did the 2nd time, but there’s one big difference, this is Tito’s retirement fight. Now that doesn’t mean I’m picking Tito to win, I’m still going with Forrest by decision, but don’t be surprised if Tito goes into beast mode and pounds Forrest into oblivion if he gets the top position.
Winner: Forrest Griffin
Cung Le (7-2) vs. Patrick Cote (17-7)
Cote is a very tough fighter who packs big knockout power in his punches. How many guys can stand toe-to-toe with Drew McFedries and come out on top? Not to many, but Cote is one of them. Cote has never been knocked out in a professional fight, not counting his freak knee injury against Anderson Silva which pretty much turned all the fans against him, and even damaged Silva’s reputation to an extent. His struggles with injury contributed to his next two losses and eventual dismissal from the UFC. Now Cote is back, racking up 4 wins in a row, he has focused largely on his wrestling skills with his teammate Georges St.Pierre and the Canadian national wrestling team. Le is an undefeated Sanshou fighter turned movie star. In fact, he is set to play one of the leading roles in Jean Claude Van Damme’s new movie… Now why am I mentioning that? Well, I like JCVD for one, but also because Le’s fighting performance has seemed to decline as his film career has risen. Le was never a physical specimen, but he possesses some great technique, throwing kicks from different angles than you would expect from an ordinary run-of-the-mill MMA fighter. He is particularly effective with his kicks when he targets the midsection of his opponents. Cote will be the larger fighter in the cage, and he will have a 7 inch reach advantage, but that may not mean much considering that Le is a kicker for the most part (and his legs are longer than Cote’s arms). It’s difficult to pick a winner in this fight because Le can be very unpredictable; all it takes is one perfectly placed spinning back kick to the body, and that’s a wrap son. I just don’t see that happening against a guy like Cote though, he is incredibly resilient, and he is also very dangerous in his own right. If they exchange in the pocket, Cote wins. If Cote is losing the striking battle, he has the ability to take the fight to the ground. At 40 years of age, I just don’t see Le pulling this one out against a guy as determined to win as Cote. Also worth noting is that, win or lose, all of Le’s fights have ended by knockout, so I don’t see this one going the distance.
Winner: Patrick Cote
Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1 with 1 NC) vs. Demian Maia (15-4)
Maia is a 3rd degree black belt in BJJ, winning a plethora of championships before making the move to MMA. He started off his UFC run in a big way, submitting his first 5 opponents, with 4 submission of the night awards. Until he hit a brick wall named Nate Marquardt and got knockout out 21 seconds into the 1st round. That’s when he joined up with Wand Fight Team and decided to put all of his focus on developing his striking abilities. Maia has definitely improved by leaps and bounds with his striking technique, but he lacks knockout power, and he seems to have set aside his brilliant BJJ skills. Kim is a 4th degree black belt in Judo with an effective array of punches and kicks. Kim is undefeated in the UFC except for a 1st round knockout loss to number 1 contender Carlos Condit. Maia may be technically sound, but his lack of stopping power automatically puts him at a disadvantage, and he’s giving up 4 inches of reach to his opponent as well. Apart from that, Kim will be able to dictate where this fight takes place because of his Judo background and superior physical strength. If that isn’t enough, this will be Maia’s welterweight debut fight, and Kim is a very tough first opponent. If this fight does end up on the mat, Maia will have the advantage, but I just don’t see that happening. Kim will be content to pick up a clear decision win here using long punches, leg kicks, and his control in the clinch.
Winner: Dong Hyun Kim
This section has been submitted by someone who calls himself “Rabbi Ken Nor”. He took some time to peruse the betting lines and prop bets for this event and has some predictions of his own. Now these numbers are based on real betting odds which are not as favorable as the playground odds, but some of it may apply to your playground wagers as well. Hope you guys like it, or at least find it informative.
Here’s a few of the bets I’ve placed:
My ‘Confident’ bets all include Anderson Silva. I don’t see him letting what happened at UFC 117 happen again. I think he wins quickly and aggressively.
Anderson Silva wins @ -260
Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen won’t go 5 full rounds @ -250
Anderson Silva wins inside the distance @ -162
Anderson Silva wins by submission @ +392
$10 on each bet pays a total of $93.20
The MMAHQ poll for this fight (Silva/Sonnen) shows that one person selected Chael to win by submission and another person took Chael to win by TKO/KO. Here’s those numbers…
Sonnen wins by TKO/KO +1300 > > > $10 bet on the TKO pays $130
Sonnen wins by Submission +2145 > > > $10 bet on the Sub pays $214.50
Here’s a couple of ‘Long Shots’ that have some value.
Tito Ortiz wins by decision @ +601
Fabricio Camoes wins @ +222
$10 on each will payout $102.30
Tito Ortiz only has to win two rounds against Forest Griffin, at 6 to 1 odds, I’d like to believe he can do it. Melvin Guillard loses by submission when he gets beat…and now he’s faced off against a decent submission artist. If Fabricio Camoes can survive the first round he has a shot at defying those +222 odds and making me some good money. I’ll take both these dogs, and just for fun, I’ll even parlay the two together ($10)…meaning, if both win, my $10 turns into $215.72
So, in total, I’ve put $70 out in bets…best case scenario, I win $411.22. Worst case scenario, I Iose my $70 and my wife finds out what I’ve done and I start paying Alimony and Child Support.
Good luck everyone!!!
REMINDER: Don’t forget to make your picks (and wagers) for this event, and enjoy the fights, as we should be in for an epic night of action!