The phrase “most anticipated fight of the year” is thrown around very liberally in the landscape of mixed martial arts, and has long since become overstated in respect to both frequency and descriptiveness. Saturday night’s UFC 148, however, boasts a match-up that truly is the most anticipated fight of the year, if not of the past two years since the headlining combatants first met in August 2010. In just over 24 hours, one of the biggest scores in recent MMA history will be settled when long-reigning UFC Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (31-4) comes face to face with boisterous, professional wrestling-esque smack talker Chael Sonnen (27-11-1), who in their first meeting came all too close to handing Silva his first loss in over four years before being submitted late in the fifth round. Directly supporting the ultimate grudge match of a main event is a rubber match between former champions and staples of the UFC, Forrest Griffin (18-7) and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (16-10-1). Revered 185lbs. striker Cung Le (7-2) welcomes fellow heavy-hitter “The Predator” Patrick Cote (17-7) back to the Octagon after a two-year-long UFC hiatus. Welterweights “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1) and Demian Maia (15-4) will compete in what is sure to be a battle on the mat. Former top 145lbs. contender “Money” Chad Mendes (11-1) will square off with TUF alum “AK Kid” Cody McKenzie (13-2), preceded by a bantamweight affair between “The Hulk” Mike Easton (12-1) and “The Pride of El Salvador” Ivan Menjivar (24-8). The winners and losers of UFC 148 have yet to be determined, but here are the MMA Gospel staff’s picks of who is likely to come out on top.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will once again host the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization as Zuffa presents UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II on Saturday night. Opening the card is a bantamweight match between “The Hulk” Mike Easton (12-1) and “The Pride of El Salvador” Ivan Menjivar (24-8), proceeded by former top 145lbs. contender “Money” Chad Mendes (11-1) versus TUF alum “AK Kid” Cody McKenzie (13-2). Welterweights “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1) and Jiu-Jitsu expert Demian Maia (15-4) will follow the 135ers with Cung Le (7-2) and “The Predator” Patrick Cote (17-7) holding the anchor position. The co-main will see Forrest Griffin (18-7) face “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (16-10-1) for the third time in each man’s storied career and headlining the Pay-Per-View card will be a rematch that nearly everyone in the MMA world has been eagerly awaiting for nearly two years: “The Spider” Anderson Silva (31-4) against Chael Sonnen (27-11-1).