John Heinis: The rematch is finally here after waiting for nearly two years. The million-dollar question seems to be: will a fired up Anderson Silva be the best or worst thing to happen to Chael Sonnen?
Sonnen is going to get his takedowns, that's a given, but everything else is pretty much anyone's guess.
Will Silva be willing to work his guard for minutes at a time? Will Chael be able to keep Silva honest with his striking?
Well, I believe the answers to both questions are yes, but to a marginal extent. Silva will not stay on his back for rounds at a time and while Sonnen will land some shots on the feet, he will have to score a takedown once Anderson fires back.
Everyone reading this is well aware how the first fight went and would probably agree that Sonnen is the only one who stands a legitimate shot of beating Silva at middleweight.
Nevertheless, I just can't bet on Sonnen right now (especially with the line being what it is), even though the middleweight division is a lot less interesting with "Uncle Chael" as a challenger instead of the champion.
I really hope I'm wrong about this one, but...
Anderson Silva via unanimous decision
Matthew Ryder: The biggest rematch in the history of the sport is finally upon us. The angry staredowns, the trash talk, the photo ops—they’re all over. It’s time to lace ‘em up and go to work.
The story has been rehashed too many times for me to do it differently. Two dudes who really hate each other are fighting for the middleweight title. That’s more or less it.
It basically comes down to whether or not Sonnen can push the pace and use his wrestling to work Silva over before Silva knocks his head off in some inventive way. The wild card is that Silva seems more openly hostile than ever before, and one has to wonder how that will play with him once the fight starts.
For my money, I genuinely believe that there was more to their first meeting than “Chael cheated and Andy was hurt.”
Sonnen is a nightmare matchup for the champion: an aggressive wrestler who can throw hands and has absolutely no fear of what Silva has to offer.
Even still, too many times we’ve watched Anderson Silva do something insane right in front of us. The man has his own “believe your eyes” commercials, because for so long it’s been so hard to do that when he’s been in the cage.
My head says Sonnen by decision, but my heart says Silva has one last great highlight left in him. I’m going with my heart.
Anderson Silva via submission
Andrew Saunders: Although Sonnen's less than stunning performance against Michael Bisping is still fresh in my memory, it does not overwrite what we saw the first time around.
I don't see this fight happening without Silva hitting his back a lot. I think Chael finishes what he started and wins a hard fought decision.
Chael Sonnen via unanimous decision
Matt Juul: With over two years worth of hype leading into Saturday's historic rematch, fans won't be disappointed and are guaranteed to see fireworks.
Silva has unleashed his inner rage over the last few weeks, exposing a side of the champion that we've never seen before. All of Sonnen's trash talking and verbal jabs have finally released the true "Spider".
While some believe this anger will end up clouding Silva's judgement, I think it will make him hyper focused culminating in the best performance of his career.
Sonnen's going to make it a fight, but Silva will pull out the spectacular finish.
Anderson Silva via round 4 TKO