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UFC 148 Preview: Sonnen vs. Silva 2

In one of the most highly anticipated main events of 2012, Chael Sonnen will get his rematch against Anderson Silva at UFC 148 this Saturday, July 7th, in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read on for the deets.

Anderson Silva (31-4) vs. Chael Sonnen (27-11)

Chael Sonnen was closer to defeating Anderson Silva than anybody has been in the Octagon. He was seconds away from ending Silva’s 15-fight winning streak, outwrestling the Brazilian phenom and spending five rounds peppering him with punches. He was just seconds away from winning a unanimous decision victory before succumbing to a triangle choke.

A lot has changed since that moment. Sonnen had to serve a suspension for failing to apply for a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy. (He also faced legal issues and ultimately pled guilty to money laundering.) After serving his sentence, Sonnen went on to defeat Brian Stann and Michael Bisping inside the Octagon.

Silva, for his part, defeated Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 with a KO (front kick and punches), which earned Knockout of the Night honors. He then defeated Yushin Okami in his 9th successful title defense, extending the UFC record.

A lot has changed for this fight. Silva suffered a rib injury before the first matchup, and will presumably be healthier this go-around. And now he’s angry. Really, really angry, as evidenced in a press conference where he pointed out that Sonnen had been convicted of crimes and said that he doesn’t deserve to be inside the Octagon. “… when the time comes and the time is right, I’m going to break his face and break every one of his teeth in his mouth,” Silva said.

This does not bode well for Sonnen, but he has come the closest to defeating Silva in the UFC, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens on Saturday night…

Here’s the stats from the first fight, courtesy of the UFC.

Forrest Griffin (18-7) vs. Tito Ortiz (16-10-1)

Tito Ortiz is on the brink of retirement, but he just can’t do it after back-to-back losses to Rashad Evans and Minotaro Nogueira. Maybe he should’ve just walked away after defeating Ryan Bader, but it looks like he wants this rematch against Forrest Griffin. It’s hard to believe that Griffin’s only had two fights since he defeated Tito via split decision at UFC 106 back in 2009, but it’s the truth — Forrest defeated Rich Franklin and then lost to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. With some stick-and-move action, he should be able to again defeat Tito Ortiz, who is clearly past his prime, but Tito may have a bit more drive since he’ll want to end his career with a victory.

Cung Le (7-2) vs. Patrick Cote (17-7)

Cung Le is always exciting to watch, and with his Sanshou and kickboxing background, arguably has some of the best kicks in all of MMA. He is coming off of a loss to Wanderlei Silva, after succumbing to knees and punches with just seconds left in the 2nd round of their bout at UFC 139. Cote was cut from the UFC after losing 3 in a row in 2008 and 2010, but then won four fights outside of the Octagon. This will be his first fight back.

Don Hyung Kim (15-1-1) vs. Demian Maia (15-4)

BJJ black belt Demian Maia is looking to pick himself up after a loss to wrestler Chris Weidman, who was a late replacement for an injured Michael Bisping. Five of Kim’s six UFC wins are via decision, so he may well be looking to eke out another one in this bout. Carlos Condit has been the only person to put a stop to the Stun Gun to date. Maia himself has also been winning (and losing) decisions as of late, so this may not be the most interesting match-up… though Maia does have amazing submissions, if he decides to try to use them.

Chad Mendes (11-1) vs. Cody McKenzie (13-2)

Cody McKenzie is a bit of a one-trick pony; 12 of his 13 wins are by choke and 11 of those 12 are by guillotine — or McKenzietine, since he does have his own spin on the move. McKenzie lost two in a row after winning his bout against Aaron Wilkinson at the Ultimate Fighter Finale, but has rebounded from his two losses with a defeat over Marcus LeVesseur by — you guessed it — guillotine. Chad Mendes is coming off of his first loss to Jose Aldo, and will be looking to make a statement. Mendes trains alongside Urijah Faber at Team Alpha Male, so it’s not like he’s never seen a guillotine before. How the weight cut will effect McKenzie (this is his first fight at featherweight) also remains to be seen.

Ivan Menjivar (24-8) vs. Mike Easton (12-1)

Tristar Gym product Ivan Menjivar was originally scheduled to face Renan Barao at this event, but Barao was pulled as an opponent for Urijah Faber. Mike Easton, a BJJ black belt under Lloyd Irvin, is running a 7-fight winning streak, with two of those victories inside the Octagon. Menjivar would have definitely shot up the ranks into contender status with a win over Barao, and this is arguably also the case with a victory over Easton. Easton believes he has a speed advantage, but Menjivar is a cerebral fighter with much more cage experience under his belt, so this could be a pretty even matchup.

Preliminary bouts taking place include Gleison Tibau vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, Melvin Guillard vs Fabricio Camoes, Constantinos Philippou vs Riki Fukuda, John Alessio vs Shane Roller, and a facebook prelim match between Raefello Oliveira vs Yoislandy Izquierdo.

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