The first fight was a comeback of epic proportions.
Twenty-three minutes of wrestling dominance nullified by eight seconds of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mastery. That was the first fight in a nutshell.
The sequel is going to be even better.
This time around the trash talk has amplified to a new level and the buy-rate is expected to approach UFC 100 numbers, and this fight is the reason for it all.
Chael guarantees to walk out with the belt. Anderson guarantees to break every bone in Chael's body.
And that's only part of what makes this the must-see fight of the year.
Every time Anderson Silva steps into the Octagon, he has more on the line than the guy across from him. This time is no different.
14 consecutive UFC victories and nine straight UFC Middleweight Championship title defenses will be on the line. Either Silva walks out of Vegas extending history, or Chael will become the first in the UFC to defeat him.
One way or another, on July 7, 2012, we will all witness history.
In a media conference call about the upcoming fight, Silva said:
“I’m going to break his face and every tooth in his mouth,” Silva said through his interpreter and manager Ed Soares. “I know he’s on the call listening to this and playtime is over. There’s no more talking from him. I’m going to beat him out of the UFC. I’m going to make him pay for everything he’s said about me, my family and my country. I’m going to beat him maybe like his parents should have to teach him some manners. I’ll teach him those manners myself.
“No more sh** talking from him. Chael Sonnen's going to get his ass kicked like he's never gotten his ass kicked before. What I'm going to do inside the Octagon is something that's going to change the image of the sport, I’m sorry. I'm going to beat his ass like he's never been beaten before. This is going to be violent and I am sorry. 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. He will need a plastic surgeon afterwards.”
So much for Mr. Nice guy. Anderson laid it all out on the line with these notable quotes. They were so good that Chael didn't offer a snide rebuttal or explosive comment of his own. And if you can get Chael to shut up, you're doing something right.
Anderson doesn't truly believe that he can break every bone in Chael's body within the confines of a sanctioned MMA match. So unless Anderson is planning on driving a semi down to the cage to run Chael over with, I think it's safe to say that Chael will be able to walk out of the Octagon.
The great thing about this is that Anderson is mad. He's incensed with anger at Chael for what he's said about Brazil, his wife, and his colleagues. Anderson feels like he's fighting for the integrity of the sport which is why there's so much venom in his words. He knows the prestige and honor and respect that comes with being a Champion and feels like Chael deserves none of it.
Because of those reasons, he wants to break all the bones in Chael's body.
But can Anderson cash the checks that his mouth cashed, or will his first guarantee be his undoing? Watch and see.
The first fight defined Silva as a fighter.
Getting beaten not only on the ground but also getting rocked on his feet, Chael dominated all of the action but then just simply got tired of beating Silva and got sloppy enough to allow Silva the room to submit him.
Check the action out for yourself.
Styles make fights. And these two stay true to who they are and that's why they're at the top of the division.
There won't be any wild circling or defensive gameplans. This will be 25 minutes or less of two guys just trying to impose their will on the other. That is what fighting is all about.
Striker vs grappler. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Wrestling. We get to see what's best again.
A victory for Silva will be a victory for all standup fighters. It'll prove that a dominant Muay Thai/boxer can defeat a dominant grappler. A win for Sonnen and wrestling clinics will see a boost in sales. This could have a huge impact on the way MMA is fought 10-15 years from now.
And we get to see it on full display Saturday night.
By that I mean we actually get to see Silva fight, be aggressive and come out looking for a finish.
Yes, Silva is a finisher. However, too often in fights Silva gets bored with his opponent and decides that he'll play with them, dancing around and humiliating him like he did to Demian Maia.
In this fight, that won't happen. Chael has Anderson's undivided attention and I don't see Anderson letting up a second in his opening onslaught that's sure to happen against him. Chael is going to push the pace and go for the kill against Anderson, so the spider is going to have to do the same.
These two do not like each other. Most of it is Chael's fault, but even so, these two just do not like each other.
And that's fine with us because we want to see two guys with a reason to tear each other apart. It's especially intriguing to see that fire come from Silva since he's had the belt for a long time. It can be easy to become complacent after having the amount of success that Anderson has had in the Octagon. Then Chael opened his mouth.
As Jim Crose sang years ago in "You Don't Mess Around With Jim":
You don't tug on Superman's cape,
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that ol' Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Slim.
Chael just tugged on Superman's cape for the last time. While he's hungry for gold and the culmination of a lifelong dream, Silva is after blood and keeping his belt far from Chael Sonnen.
After all, he doesn't want Chael to mutter the two words that he dreads more than anything else: