As the veteran voice of the octagon Bruce Buffer says, “It’s Time”, for what should prove to be the most monetarily successful card in UFC history. This Saturday night the MGM Grand Garden Arena will play host to UFC 148 which features the intensely anticipated rematch between current middle weight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva (31-4, 18 KO’s / 6 Subs) and challenger Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen (27-11-1, 7 KO’s / 4 Subs).
When it comes to successful pay-per-view cards, UFC 100 is the one that all events have been measured to thus far. But according to UFC president Dana White who was present for last week’s media call, the promotion expects UFC 148 to surpass the 1.6 million buys that UFC 100 reached. And judging from all of the hype leading up to this weekend’s main event, I have very little doubt that White’s assumption will come to fruition.
Throughout this week the UFC has scheduled all types of events for fans and media alike. From pool parties which hallmark fighters and octagon girls to the Fan Expo at Mandalay Bay, the extras that accompany UFC 148 are sure to have mma fans whipped into a frenzy by the time the two combatants battle for the title at stake.
THE ODDS :
In their first fight odds makers had listed Silva as an overwhelming 5 to 1 betting favorite. This time around the current odds reflect a much more competitive fight is expected when compared to that price, but the champion is still the chalk at -270, with the take back on Sonnen a generous +230.
WIN PROBABILITY based on MONEY-LINE :
SILVA -270 = 73% Win Probability
SONNEN +230 = 30% Win Probability
Simply put, if bettors conclude Silva has better than a 73% chance of winning this bout then laying -270 or less offers them the edge needed to make this a profitable (+EV) wager…On the flip side, if one concludes Sonnen’s chances are greater than 30% then a wager at +230 or higher offers the best of it.
Before I get to the analysis for this title fight, I believe a quick review of their first encounter can’t be ignored. The simple fact is Silva successfully defended his middleweight strap but in the process, was fully dominated for more than 4 ½ rounds by Sonnen.
From the opening bell it was obvious the challenger’s claim that win or lose, the champion would know he was in a fight would become prophecy. At the start of round one Sonnen landed a lead right hand that almost dropped Silva and then proceeded to land combinations that had him recognizably hurt.
But it was Sonnen’s take down half way through the very first round that went on to become the recurring theme until he carelessly got caught in a triangle choke, forcing a tap with less than two minutes remaining in the fifth and final round. Had Sonnen avoided the submission attempt like he’d done throughout their clash, he would’ve undoubtedly exited the cage as the newly crowned UFC champion.
Many argue that Silva was nursing an injury going into the fight while others say he overlooked Sonnen, regardless if either excuse were true, when all was said and done it was apparent the challenger had earned another shot. It’s been almost two years since that title fight took place and in that time the drama between fighters has grown to epic proportions.
We’ve witnessed Sonnen continuously refer to himself as the true UFC middle weight champion and use every opportunity to instigate a rematch by calling Silva out through various means. From criticizing the country of Brazil to accusing the title holder of ducking him, Sonnen even proceeded to insult Silva’s wife. And through it all Silva remained silent and eventually agreed to granting a rematch that may ultimately be considered the biggest fight in UFC history.
But that all changed this past week when the UFC scheduled a press conference by way of a media call. It didn’t take long for Silva to inform everyone in attendance that this bout has become personal and he has no problem approaching it that way.
When asked for a comment Silva responded by stating through his interpreter and manager Ed Soares, “What I'm going to do inside the Octagon is something that's going to change the image of the sport, I’m sorry.” And when urged to explain Silva violently responded with, “I'm going to make sure that every one of his teeth are broken, that his arms are broken and his legs are broken. He's not going to be able to walk out of the Octagon by himself. I can guarantee that.”
Surprisingly Sonnen did not respond except to reassure that he’s got Silva’s number and we’ve all been duped by a champion who’s refused to face any worthy opponents besides himself.
Bottom line, I am certain that we the fans have not become victims of any masterful marketing. Instead these two men truly dislike and want to hurt one and other. Although the stage has been set for this bout to be a promoters dream, the passion and fierceness displayed by both is as genuine as you can get.
THE BREAKDOWN :
For the challenger, the recipe for victory is not a secret by any means. Sonnen’s striking is much improved when compared to his early mma career, but the All-American wrestling standout at the University of Oregon and two time Greco-Roman national champion needs to once again take the fight to the ground. Boxing coach Clayton Hires will surely have him prepared to press the attack and offer Silva different angles, but ultimately Sonnen’s offense while standing must be the precursor to shoot for a single or double-leg takedown.
He is considered the most superior wrestler in the sport and more importantly, his takedowns are nearly impossible to avoid. When Sonnen takes his opponents down on the mat, he possesses an incomparable ability to keep them there.
The knock in Sonnen’s game thus far in his mma career has been avoiding submissions. In fact, his last six losses have all come via arm-bar or triangle choke but prior to his loss against Silva, he had gone three long years without getting caught. So successfully defending against the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt’s submission attempts are essential for a shot at beating Silva the second time around.
STRIKING & TAKE-DOWN RATINGS RATIO :
(Data Provided by Fightmetric.com)
Strikes Landed vs. Strikes Absorbed : SONNEN = +12 ….SILVA = +32
Successful Take-Downs vs. Take-Down Defense : SONNEN +23.…SILVA = +47
For the champion, keeping the fight standing will be paramount as far as game planning goes. Although he’s trained by the Noguiera brothers making him highly skilled when a fight hit’s the mat, against Sonnen, it’s not where he’ll want to be. Instead Silva needs to execute his accurate striking and Muay Thai skills that have been perfected training at Chute Box Academy and Black House over the years.
Unlike the initial meeting with Sonnen when Silva was only able to utilize his striking at the start of each round prior to being taken down, he’ll need to circle the cage and remain at a distance. He’ll only have a 1 inch edge in height over Sonnen but it’s his almost 4 inch reach advantage that has to be employed. The reason for this is even with being more predominant with kicks and more exceptional in the clinch, both leave him vulnerable to being taken down. Therefore, until he’s certain that Sonnen is hurt or gassed, the key to another successful defense of his title will rest on picking the challenger apart from a distance.
THE PREDICTION :
I disagree with Sonnen that Silva has yet to face quality opposition just because he’s disposed of most so easily. The bottom line is that the majority were beaten before the cage door was even closed as we saw with the likes of Damian Maia, Thales Leites, and Forrest Griffin, who all appeared hesitant to engage Silva.
With that said, there’s no doubt Sonnen will not fit that profile after embarking with a ton of confidence from their last tussle. We can also be certain that both men will come into this bout in the best shape of their careers and as prepared as possible. In short, we’ll be treated to the so called A-Game of Sonnen and Silva. That means conditioning should not play a deciding factor but it definitely could when you take into account that the title holder will enter the cage with a lot of emotion, something he hasn’t fought with many times throughout his career.
Personally, I believe that gives Sonnen a significant edge because Silva’s enormous success in mma has unquestionably been a result of his undeniable patience and focus. Now that he’s vowed to take the fight to Sonnen and issue a beating that will forever change the face of mma, he just may find himself falling right into the challenger’s strengths.
If you remember, the last time Silva was able to take Sonnen down but was unable to keep him there so he may get into trouble if he doesn’t proceed with caution and chooses to be the aggressor. Obviously the champion is not 14-0 inside the UFC by accident so he’s very capable of overwhelming Sonnen with strikes and making the fight play out like he’s promised.
Finally, in this battle of two southpaws though the betting line is much lower than the first time they met, I just can’t seem to justify it still being almost 3 to 1 in favor of Silva. Granted, most experts agree that the rematch will be a much different bout, but I have to return to the sometimes overused fight cliché that “Styles Make Fights” and there’s little to make me conclude Sonnen’s style won’t be a nightmare for Silva again.
Look for Sonnen to absorb some strikes from Silva early on and throughout the fight at the start of each round, but just like we saw in their previous encounter, the challenger’s wrestling pedigree will allow him to dictate where the majority of the bout takes place…on the mat. Sonnen will be able to keep his head and arms out of danger after some brushes with submission attempts, so when the final bell sounds he is awarded the UFC middleweight gold via unanimous decision.
Join me at Twitter.com (@vegasrunner) on fight day as I send out live updates, pictures, and predictions from cage side at UFC 148.
THIS WEEK in BOXING :
The WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, IBO, and The Ring Magazine heavyweight titles will be on the line as the longest reigning heavyweight champion for three of those four alphabet belts, Wladimir Klitschko defends against Tony Thompson.
Bookmakers have set the betting line at Wlad -1700 and though I would never urge anyone to lay that type of price, to be perfectly honest I believe it should be even higher when compared to the “true odds” of Klitschko winning this bout.
This will be the second time that Thompson gets a chance to beat Wladimir after losing to him by KO back in 2008. But after 5 straight wins, this fight will serve as another example of just how shallow the talent pool is in the heavyweight division at the moment.
Not taking anything away from Wladimir or his brother Vitali, who holds the WBC heavyweight strap, because they will go down in history as two of the greatest big men of all time, but lately it’s been close to impossible to park either in a competitive fight.
THIS WEEKEND in VEGAS :
Besides UFC 148 and all of the events scheduled throughout this week, Tuff-N-Uff will be returning to the South Point Hotel and Casino on Friday July 6th for a night of mma, food and drink, and entertainment. Always a great time and an opportunity to showcase some of the up and coming star of mma, I’ve been informed that the gourmet food trucks will be on hand once again. Many have been featured on the Travel Channel and Food Channel and now you can sample the cuisine while enjoying what appears to be another excellent card of mma bouts.
2011 and 2012 MMA & BOXING RECORD = 59-35 (63%) at Pregame.com
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Good read, VR.....I agree that Sonnen takes home the belt.
Howlin' Dogs ~ 4-5 (+226)
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Great Job VR. Everyone I know in the sport makes a great case for both fighters. So I have to believe that there is really good value on Sonnen. Thanks for the analysis. Now I know who to play.
Thanks B...You won't get rich fading Anderson Silva as is evident by his 14-0 mark inside the UFC..But with that said, I believe the price isn't justified when you look at how their styles match-up and more importantly..having the first fight as obvious proof Sonnen's not an easy out by any stretch.
I just hope it's another great night of fights capped off with a great main event..
I'm sure that there will be bouts that offer up more betting value than this one, but even so, I'll definitely be backing this opinion with some cash. GL, VR
Couldn't agree more on the Sonnen pick VR. Only difference is I think Sonnen wins by submission.
Thanks Kirk & Mike...glad to see you guys agree with me because so far, almost everyone I've spoken with and all of the stuff I've read, almost all says we're in for a much different fight this time around and that Silva will win by KO within 3 rounds..I just don't see how that can happen when he'll be on his back for most of the fight. His best chance will be as soon as the bell rings to start each round but Sonnen should have him on his back pretty quickly. And unlike a lot of wrestlers that simply control the opponent, Sonnen can dish out some serious ground and pound which will definitely continue to weaken Silva and make him less potent as fight wears on. GL, VR
Vr Love your info on the Fights, I play Sonnen last time out for 150 and thought I had won till Sonnen blew it Should of play back and less aggressive in the final round but it was a hell of a fight.. I can say I'll be backing him again
I will be devils advocate here on this one VR...
Sonnen's best chance to win this fight was the first fight when Silva took him lightly and did not train as hard for him. Sonnen blew it when he tapped out to the move that gets him ALL the time - the triangle. Seriously, how does Sonnen win this fight against a FOCUSED and hard trained Silva? He cannot.
Just as you said VR - Silva is 14-0 and 1 of this wins is a submission against Sonnen. Sure Sonnen has great conditioning and good wrestling but that's about it. Sonnen couldn't even finish Silva in their first fight when he had ALL the advantages. How much better can Sonnen be from the first fight that he "should" have won? Sonnen's best night was not good enough against Silva's worst night.
I'm not puting too much stock into the shit talk from Silva. I think its more fight promotion than anything. However, I do know that Silva trained hard for this fight and Silva was ASKING for this fight just as much as Sonnen. We are going to see the BEST Anderson Silva to date on Saturday.
Silva dominates this fight with his superior striking skills from the first bell and dominates all 5 rounds. Even if Silva has a chance to finish him - he won't. He is going to punish him all 5 rounds for a unanimous decision.
The only question here is how does Sonnen's best compare to Silva's best?
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Great stuff VR, and i think i'll camp out in this thread all week. I got some good info as well with other fights on the card, and of course im more than interested in the main event as well. Great read my friend, and looking forward to this card so very much!
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agree with dustin!! the only way sonnen wins is if vegas pulls a timothy bradley. i havent seen silva this pissed since the lee murray fight and we all know how that ended.