There we will see just how much better The Spider is than absolutely everyone else in MMA at 185 pounds.
Yes, Sonnen delivered an unprecedented beating on Silva during four-and-a-half rounds in the summer of 2010. Yes, Silva is now in his late 30s. Yes, Sonnen presents an awkward matchup for The Spider. Yes, Sonnen only lost due to his Achilles' heal: the triangle choke, something he's fallen pray to four times before. He only needs to tweak that weakness and he's got Silva's number.
There are a million reasons to theorize why Sonnen is one small step away from dethroning the Silva Dynasty.
Problem, though, is reality. It trumps popular opinion. And in the Internet age, popular opinion receives more web exposure than professional diagnosis. The web has created the "fan as sports commentator" phenomenon which leads Google searches to show masses of mediocrity indecipherable from true journalism.
One cure for this mediocrity are the Nevada betting odds. They have a stronger tie to reality.
Right now, Bookmaker.net has Sonnen at close to a 2:1 underdog—and for good reason.
In August of 2010, Sonnen was indeed fighting a bent (although not broken) Silva. The Spider was nursing bone-bruised ribs which put a significant thorn in a fighter's game.
Further, as written by WatchKalibRun.com, Sonnen's testosterone level at UFC 117 was "17 times the normal male level and 4 times the allowed maximum for an athlete."
Sonnen was in challenger status: hungry and healthy. Silva was in definite plateau mode. Having dispatched the big names in his midst he could seem almost bored in the Octagon. Psychologically, this puts a reigning champ at a disadvantage.
With Sonnen's testosterone levels in check and Silva's body (hopefully) in standard condition, as well as his psyche reignited, we will see a true comparison of these men's skills.
Sonnen ran through Brian Stann but technically lost (in my, and many sports journalists' honest opinion) to Michael Bisping. In comparison, The Spider wiped Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami off his checklist in decisive fashion. Comparing both men's past two years paints a picture of Silva's performance against Sonnen in 2010 as an exception, not the rule.
Silva's fighting IQ is monstrous compared to one-dimensional Sonnen. And The Spider's historic record is against bigger and better names than his mouthy nemesis from Oregon.
My humble, and ironically "fan as commentator" opinion, is a Silva TKO victory in the early moments of Round 3.
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