UFC 148 Fight Card: A Full Review of the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen Rivalry

Mark PareCorrespondent IIJuly 4, 2012

UFC 148 Fight Card: A Full Review of the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen Rivalry

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    It's almost that time, a time that, for nearly two years, Chael Sonnen has been waiting for.

    The rematch between himself and UFC Middleweight champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva.

    There has been trash talk from both camps from the very moment this rematch got announced.  Overall, this has been an exciting rivalry because, for the record, if you have the stones to take on arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and succeed, people are going to want to see Silva knocked down off of a perch, one that he's been on top of for a very long time.

    This rivalry first started two years ago...

Origins

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    When Chael Sonnen was first after the middleweight title, he had to get past Nate Marquardt at UFC 109.

    Before that fight took place, Sonnen did an interview with MMA Weekly and it revealed his candid thoughts on what kind of fighter and man Silva is.

    This is an excerpt from that interview from January 2010, when he was asked about Silva's possible retirement from the sport.

    As quoted in the MMA Weekly article:

    “I would imagine, who knows what Anderson’s doing. At the end of the day, who cares,” said Sonnen. “If he wants to leave the division, leave the sport, who cares. Beat it, nobody tunes in to watch him anyways, and his little fake ‘I don’t speak English.'"

    “You want me to let you in on a secret, Anderson Silva speaks perfect English. He just has such a low amount of respect for you and all the rest of the media that he pretends he doesn’t. I’ve had conversations with Anderson Silva in perfect English, and on top of that he’s so boring to listen to that he and his rocket scientist manager, Ed Soares, who is also about as exciting as watching grass grow, have decided that Ed is better on the mic than Anderson, so just let Ed do the talking."

    In the same article, Silva's manager Ed Soares fired back with comments of his own.

    “(Silva) doesn’t speak perfect English. It’s definitely improving a lot and he can start to have a little bit more of a conversation with people, but at the end of the day when the lights are on and the camera is there, he likes to have someone next to him there to translate for him,” Soares said.

    Soares continued to talk about the Team Quest fighter, a man he says is usually a "really super nice guy".

    “Anyone that has a mouth can say what they want,” he said. “I don’t think people pay too much attention to what Chael does. Saying that Anderson’s boring or Anderson’s this, Anderson’s that, we don’t even need to go back and see what Chael has done. If you really want to analyze Chael’s career over the past couple years, he’s had some wins, but he said he didn’t tap against Paulo Filho. If the ref wouldn’t have stopped the fight, Paulo Filho would have his arm in Brazil with him.

    “And when he beat Paulo Filho, he was 35 to 40 percent of a Paulo Filho and he took him to a decision. Then he went and fought Demian Maia, got submitted quick, and now he’s going to fight Nate Marquardt which Nate just ended up knocking out Demian Maia. I think Chael should be really focused on his fight that he’s got against Nate Marquardt because I can tell you right now that’s probably going to be the hardest fight of his life. I would put my money on Nate.”

    Sonnen claimed in a UFC 117 pre-fight interview that Silva ducked him for four years. 

    After defeating Marquardt, he finally got his shot.

UFC 117

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    After Sonnen defeated Marquardt and Silva got past Demian Maia at UFC 112, the fight was set for UFC 117 in Oakland, CA.

    The lead up to the fight showcased just how well Sonnen can hype up a fight, though he would never tell you he's in the business to sell fights.

    You know the respect is there and though neither will admit it, the fact remains that Sonnen and Silva wanted to beat each other up for five rounds.

    The fight itself was one for the ages as someone was finally pushing the pace against the champion.  For four-and-a-half rounds, Sonnen dominated Silva on the ground and as we all know, one triangle choke later, Sonnen had to submit.

    Since then, the rematch was always something people wanted to see.  They wanted to see if Sonnen could take the next step, become the champion and see Silva without that "piece of tin" on his shoulder.

UFC 117 Fallout/Testosterone Controversy

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    At the post-fight press conference that night, Dana White told the press that a rematch could be in the works based on the bout, but he had to sort out the Vitor Belfort situation first.

    That's when the California State Athletic Commission stepped in and put a halt to Sonnen's rematch dreams. They suspended him for a full year for having high testosterone levels at the time of the fight.

    Sonnen did appeal the decision and knocked off half of his suspension, but Silva vs. Belfort was already in the works.

    That didn't matter either because the decision on Sonnen's suspension was reversed.

    Of course, Silva was off for a little while due to a rib injury.

    Silva defeated Belfort in February 2011 with a vicious front kick, proving that the old Silva is back and knocking guys out in short order.

UFC 134 and Yushin Okami

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    At UFC 134 in Brazil, Anderson Silva faced off against Yushin Okami, the man who, due to a DQ, handed him his last professional loss.

    Okay, you may think I'm covering Chael Sonnen too much, but the fact is, most of the talk came from him.  Silva has been relatively silent (up until recently).

    Anyway, Okami had Sonnen as a training partner and in true Chael P. Sonnen style, he backed his friend and did some trash talk at the expense of the UFC middleweight champion.

    As stated in the interview, "Anderson Silva is a rich man and rich men can't fight."

    There's obviously a ton of Sonnen quotes that you can gather from the interview above, but ultimately, it did not help Okami.

    Silva scored a knockout win in the second round and successfully defended his title once again.

Sonnen vs. Brazil (Silvas/Nogueira Brothers)

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    Sonnen and Brazil is synonymous with Sonnen vs. Silva.

    Although, all you have to do is watch his interview with Ariel Helwani to find that out.

    Basically, in Sonnen style, he talks about his suspension, Silva and the country of Brazil.

Sonnen to Silva: "You Absolutely Suck!"

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    The return of Chael Sonnen to the Octagon at UFC 136 showed that he didn't lose a step and that he was still hungry for another shot at the belt.

    After defeating Brian Stann at UFC 136, Sonnen stood with Joe Rogan and the first words out of his mouth were directed at Silva.

    "Anderson Silva, You absolutely suck!" he said.

    Sonnen then issued a challenge for Super Bowl weekend and the stakes were made high.  Sonnen would later revoke that challenge, saying Silva didn't take the offer in time.

    Sonnen would have to fight again at UFC on FOX 2.  First, he was supposed to face Mark Munoz, but an injury forced Munoz out and Michael Bisping was brought in.

    No matter, as Sonnen took the unanimous decision victory and solidified his claim to the top contender spot.

    Silva, meanwhile, hasn't fought since his win over Yushin Okami at UFC 134.

The Rematch Is on and Silva Fires Back

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    With the aforementioned victory over Bisping, a fight in Brazil was setup for Silva and Sonnen.

    Of course, the fight was moved to Las Vegas due to a UN Conference scheduling conflict.

    No matter, as both guys have spent the summer promoting this fight.  Sonnen has been doing it mostly, but Silva hasn't been quiet, as evidenced in a UFC conference call last week.

    Silva pretty much went on a rant like never before, making clear on what he wants to do when he steps into the Octagon with his arch-rival.

    "I'm going to make him pay," said Silva, "I'm going to make him eat everything he said, not only about me but my country, about everything.  I'm going to make him pay and make sure he never disrespects any Brazilian, any fighter."

    "I'm going to beat him, maybe, the way his parents should have beaten him and teach him some manners because he's disrespectful, he's a criminal and I'm going to beat him up like he's never been beat before.  The game is over, he can say what he wants."

    "When we get inside the cage, he’s gonna swallow every one of his teeth. I’m gonna rip tooth from tooth from his mouth. Every one of them! After I finish, a lot of people are going to be scared about the path that our sport is going to take. I’m dedicated, focused, prepared and, most of all, on a mission to make something that anybody did before at the UFC: break every single bone of Sonnen’s body. He’s gonna walk out with his face broken, arms broken, legs broken. I’m gonna break him up entirely. He’s listening. He’s gonna get his ass kicked. He’s gonna get a beatdown. He’ll need a stretcher to get out from the Octagon!”

    Sonnen has stated he won't issue any apologies and got some final licks in the pre-fight press conference with Silva, Ed Soares and Dana White.

    Who is going to win this time?  There has been a lot of talk and a lot of people have been waiting a while to see it.  Don't miss it!  It is the second part in a storied MMA rivalry.

    Who will write history at UFC 148?

    What do you think?

     

    Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter, and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.