The biggest rivalry in UFC history comes to a head tonight when Anderson Silva defends his UFC Middleweight Championship against Chael Sonnen in the main event at UFC 148.
The undercard of UFC 148 may be stacked with several strong bouts - particularly in comparison to some recent UFC pay-per-view events - but one fight dominates, as Sonnen goes in search of redemption that has been on his mind for almost two years.
At UFC 117, Sonnen dominated Silva for all of the fight, taking him down at will and landing close to two hundred successful punches.
But after more than twenty minutes on the defensive, Silva summoned the strength and position to put the challenger in a triangle choke to gain what many believed to be an undeserved victory.
Sonnen’s last five defeats have now come by submission and he will surely have now learnt to curb his aggressiveness when in a dominant position on the ground to take better guard.
Anderson will also have learnt a lot from the first fight, and will have worked on a strategy to best nullify his fellow southpaw.
Silva is more accustomed to fighting orthodox opposition, but the dynamics were changed in the initial fight, not only through Sonnen’s southpaw stance, but also his desire to wrestle.
A wrestler against a striker usually throws up the most intriguing clashes and Sonnen’s style is easily the best seen in the UFC to compete with Silva’s blows.
The pair are certainly difficult to separate and interviews with some of the other fighters within UFC have offered little in picking a winner, with close to a 50/50 divide.
Therefore, Sonnen certainly looks the value bet in a fight that could go either way at 9/4 at time of writing, and if the title bout does go the championship distance of five five-minute rounds, he is perhaps the most likely winner.
However, with a UFC record now standing at 11-0, Silva will not only want to preserve this, but maybe make an example of Sonnen after all of the trash talking and put downs in the build up to the rematch.
Silva is odds-on with bookmakers to beat Sonnen again, while he is just 7/2 to repeat his success by submission, which may be the best option in the method of victory market.
Crunchsports.com will have a full Silva vs. Sonnen fight preview online later today...