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MMANonstop Fight Night Picks: UFC 148 – Silva vs. Sonnen II

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July 5, 2012

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MMANonstop Fight Night Picks: UFC 148 – Silva vs. Sonnen II
After two years, the rematch of Silva vs. Sonnen is happening this Saturday night in Las Vegas. Dana White likes to call UFC 148 the sports event of the year. With the final UFC match of Tito Ortiz’ career and a few

other key match ups, this has the potential to be one of the best cards of the year. Our picks for the main card are below and we are giving away two signed pictures of Chael Sonnen and Chad Mendes to whoever is the closest. Make sure you enter your picks in the comments section and include either your facebook or twitter handle.

Bantamweight Fight: Ivan Menjivar vs. Mike Easton

Brian: The experience factor goes to Menjivar, without a doubt, and his losses are only to the top 10 fighters (Faber, Serra, Palaszewski, etc.), but Mike Easton is an up and comer whose only loss was because he broke his arm. I will take Easton in an upset by 2nd round submission.
Brendan: This will be a nice little scrap to kick off the pay-per-view portion of the card. Menjivar likes to move forward and put his opponents out of their game and from what I’ve seen of Easton so far, that’s exactly the game plan to implement because he’s a bit slow to start and wants to counterstrike. Menjivar will have the advantage in experience and I think that pays off big in this one – he will drop Easton with a flurry and follow him to the ground for the RNC finish somewhere in the 2nd round.
Jordan: Menjivar has looked very impressive in his last few fights and with a win he could be one fight away from a title shot. Easton is also riding a good streak and is looking to make an impact on the Bantamweight division. Menjivar is the more experienced fighter and I have him picking up the win via 2nd Round RNC.
Mark: The UFC has discovered that if you open an event with a Bantamweight or Featherweight fight, the card will kick off with an action packed scrap that will set the stage for everyone to follow. This matchup will do nicely to prove that theory. Mike Easton is coming into his own but I’ve been very impressed with Menjivar as of late. He’s durable and scrappy and can attack from a variety of ways. I look for him to drop Easton with punches and finish him off with a RNC. I like Menjivar via 1st RD submission.

Featherweight Fight: Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie

Brian: Money Mendes…all day. Cody is a really good wrestler, and scrappy to boot, but Chad Mendes will be too much here. If Cody McKenzie can slap a guillotine on Chad Mendes and finish it…I say give him a shot at Aldo. But that won’t happen. Mendes by decision.
Brendan: I’m not sure why Cody McKenzie took this fight as his first in the FW division, maybe he knows something about Chad Mendes that we don’t…I doubt it. I see Mendes trying to make a statement and quickly earn another title shot with a TKO finish of McKenzie late in the fight.
Jordan: Mendes is coming off the first loss of his career against Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo and now get’s the opportunity to welcome Cody McKenzie to the division. McKenzie is a submission machine; all but two of his 13 victories have come via a guillotine choke. Mendes has great wrestling and I see that being the difference. Mendes takes this fight to the ground and grinds out the decision.
Mark: While styles make fights, I see this as too much of a mismatch on paper to apply that rule. McKenzie has a crazy guillotine choke which we all know, but what else can he bring to the table against probably the best 145er in the world not named Jose Aldo? Money Mendes is a better athlete, stronger wrestler, and has better punching power as it stands so when we take away the only advantage that McKenzie had in a surprise guillotine attack, Mendes cruises easily. McKenzie is extremely durable though, but to me this one goes the distance in a one sided beating. Chad Mendes via Unanimous Decision.

Welterweight Fight Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia

Brian: Maia is coming down to welterweight, and I am VERY excited to see what happens and how much the weight cut affects him. My guess is that he would like to control this bout by closing the distance and using his BJJ to overpower and keep the Stun Gun in his world. BUT, he’s going to be dealing with faster fighters, and I think that will be a problem for him. Look for Kim to keep Maia at bay with a quick jab and win on points. Kim by unanimous decision.
Brendan: This should be an outstanding grappling affair, but Kim vastly improved his striking and I can see him trying to make Maia uncomfortable in a kickboxing match. At some point these two will tie up and when they do, don’t blink. Kim has incredible judo and we know Maia is no slouch on the ground (he defeated a 240lb HW Gabriel Gonzaga in straight BJJ competition), and I think that will play to his advantage. Look for Maia to lock up an armbar/triangle submission somewhere in the third after finally getting this fight to the floor.
Jordan: Until he ran into Carlos Condit, Kim was undefeated in the cage. Maia is making his Welterweight debut and is looking to use his advantage in Jiu-Jitsu. I am interested to see Judo vs. Jiu-Jitsu and I think Maia and his Jiu-Jitsu gets the best of Kim. Maia takes this fight to the ground and wins in the 2nd via triangle.
Mark: I love this matchup. Save a flying knee from the Interim Welterweight champ, no one has been able to slow down the Stun Gun. Maia, on the other hand has shown vast improvements in his stand up, though he’s gotten away from his technical advantage on the ground in his last few fights. Now he’s dropping to 170 where for the first time, he may have the size advantage that he never did at 185. I look for Kim to try to keep this standing, but see Maia eventually clinching against the cage and finding a way to get the fight to the mat. I don’t know that he’ll be able to put together another slick submission like the Demian Maia of old, but I like him to control the action and win his Welterweight debut. Give me Demian Maia by Unanimous Decision.

Middleweight Fight: Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote

Brian: Cung Le is fun to watch. His fighting style is unpredictable and something that we might expect to see from Steven “Wonderboy” Thompson with a plethora of kicks and strikes that many other fighters aren’t comfortable employing. The question with Le, for me, is his conditioning. I’ve seen him tire in his fights before, and Patrick Cote will come in hungry to get back on track. In the end, I think Le wins via KO in the third.
Brendan: Should be a great fight for Cote with his ability to take a shot, however when Le start throwing waves of spinning and flying kicks, Cote would be best served to take the fight to the floor and I think he just might do that. Look for Cote to use his powerful hands to find a way in and clinch to negate Le’s kicks and take the fight to the floor where he will grind out a decision with some ground-and-pound to earn another fight with the UFC.
Jordan: Cung Le is a finisher; he tries leaving every fight out of the hands of the judges. As a kick boxer he is full of exciting strikes and has been able to make an effective transition into the cage. I don’t ever see him competing for a title, but he is a tough opponent. After 4 fights away from the UFC, Patrick Cote returns to step in for Rich Franklin who just beat Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147. This will be an exciting fight, but I’m taking Le in a 2nd round KO.
Mark: With all the injuries that affected this card, both of these guys benefitted from the changes. I think Le would have been overmatched against a former champ like Rich Franklin and Patrick Cote has been patiently waiting to get the call from the UFC to step back into the octagon. Consequently, both of these guys will be looking to take full advantage. Le’s striking is incredibly diverse and Cote’s striking is powerful and clean at the same time. I expect a back and forth bout that stays on the feet, but give a slight advantage to Cote once he closes the distance and negates the kicks of Le. That said, I think Cote eventually gets caught with a counter kick while wading in and Le finishes the job. I like Cung Le by 2nd RD TKO.

Light Heavyweight Fight: Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz

Brian: Tito Ortiz is ready to retire. So the only question is, “Will we see a Chris Leben kind of fight, or a Brock Lesnar type of effort?” My gut tells me that he will go Chris Leben, and we will get a fight for the ages. Both of these guys will get knocked down. Both of them will be on the verge of winning at some point, and at the end of the fight, we’ll see Tito in tears thanking the fans for their support. Griffin by split decision.
Brendan: This fight does nothing for me, Ortiz starts strong but quickly fades while Griffin starts slow and comes on like a howler monkey after getting battered and bloodied. I see another decision out of the two of them trying to earn fight of the night, Griffin will get the UD nod from the judges and Tito will do his grave digger show one last time, only this time he’s putting his career to rest. Great fighter, outstanding history in the sport and always a draw – Tito Ortiz deserves his spot in the HOF, congrats Tito and thanks for all the great fights.
Jordan: This is a huge weekend for Ortiz; he is being inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame and will have his last match against Forrest Griffin. To me, the last fight between these two was more decisive than a split decision victory for Griffin. After all the injuries Ortiz has had, I don’t see him being able to pick up the victory in his last fight. While I am very appreciative of Ortiz and the contributions he has made to the sport, this just isn’t his time to go out with a win. This will be a fun fight, but give me Griffin by Unanimous Decision.
Mark: After all these years, Tito finally gets his swan song. He’ll be featured on one of the biggest cards in UFC history and will celebrate his induction into the UFC Hall of Fame at the same time. His legions of fans will show their gratitude and it will be a very emotional weekend for the Huntington Beach Bad Boy. But what will that do to him mentally once the cage door shuts? Forrest Griffin will have better punches and kicks than Tito, so if Ortiz can’t get Griffin onto his back, the perfect ending for him will come up short. Like the first two, this match will be close, but I see Griffin landing a higher volume of strikes and taking the nod. Give me Forrest Griffin by Unanimous Decision.

UFC Middleweight Championship Anderson Silva (c) vs. Chael Sonnen

Brian: Sonnen should be thankful that this fight is not happening in Brazil. As much as it was pitched to be a conflict with the United Nations Conference…it was simply a way to make sure Chael Sonnen wasn’t literally destroyed in Rio de Janeiro – win or lose. Stylistically, Sonnen has devised the best way to beat Anderson Silva, but he won’t be able to pull it off twice in a row. This fight is going to go to the 4th round with Silva controlling the fight and up 2-1 or 3-0 on the cards before he unleashes a fury that knocks Sonnen out cold – make sure the ref is ready to step in. Silva by KO in the 4th.
Brendan: I have no words, I’ve thought about this rematch over and over for the past 2 weeks and every time I see it go down a different way. Perhaps the American Gangster from West Linn, OR will squash the Spider once and for all thanks to his approved TRT use and he won’t get lazy to find himself in another arm-bar/triangle; or maybe the Spider shows what he’s capable of when fighting at 100% and puts a beating on Chael worse than what we saw with Forrest Griffin…like I said, either way it’s going to be a damn good fight…(cue Rick Derringer’s “I am a real American” song) I’m picking Sonnen for the upset of a lifetime and the greatest ending to his story, I think he’s determined to honor his promise to his dying father and earn the world championship (legitimately) via TKO stoppage in the 4th.
Jordan: On 7-7, at 7pm (10 in the East) Silva vs. Sonnen II is live on PPV and I can’t wait for this fight. Immediately after the first fight, I figured there was no way Anderson would let that happen again. Two years later the Gangster from West Linn has won me over. I am picking Sonnen to not only win, but to finish the Spider. Silva comes out with a fury, I have Sonnen weathering the early storm and taking the champion down. Somewhere during the third round I have Chael finishing off Silva with ground and pound.
Mark: Finally this fight is happening! The one we’ve all been waiting for. Good vs. Evil. Brazil vs. USA. Bowing to your opponent vs. Mocking your opponent’s country. You get the idea. After having heard the champ’s uncharacteristically brazen verbal counter strikes against Sonnen, I can certainly see Silva bludgeoning Sonnen early, then allowing him to get back to his feet, only to repeat this same process over and over until 25 minutes are completed. No easy referee stoppage to save the Gangster from West Linn. We saw this in Abu Dhabi right (who can forget that debacle…)? But, after all the vitriol hurled his way, if the champ can stun Sonnen, I don’t think he’ll be able to resist the temptation to unload punch after punch and the ref will have to step in. I don’t want to fully discount Sonnen in this fight, but I don’t think he can adjust as much as Silva will from their previous matchup. That’s bad news for the American. I’ll take the Spider by 1st RD KO.

Submission of the Night

Brian: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Brendan: Demian Maia
Jordan: Demian Maia
Mark: Fabricio Camoes

Knock out of the Night

Brian: Cung Le
Brendan: Chad Mendes
Jordan: Chael Sonnen
Mark: Anderson Silva

Fight of the Night

Brian: Ortiz vs. Griffin
Brendan: Silva vs. Sonnen
Jordan: Silva vs. Sonnen
Mark: Silva vs. Sonnen (could it be any other fight???)

Overall Rankings

Brian (84-68) – Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at 192.185.4.33/~bchurch, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (83-69) – Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on 192.185.4.33/~bchurch. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48
Mark (87-60) – Chief Editor and lead contributor to the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/mmanonstopmark
Jordan (93-59) – Runs the MMANonstop twitter feed and co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/nonstopmma
Fight of the Night
Brian:
Brendan: Silva vs. Sonnen
Jordan: Silva vs. Sonnen
Mark: Silva vs. Sonnen (could it be any other fight???)

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About Author

Brendan

Brendan is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt and boxing practitioner who has followed all things MMA since watching the first UFC event over 20 years ago. In addition to his professional career, Brendan is currently an MBA student at Montclair State University who enjoys spending time with his wife Meredith and their dog Cha'lie when he's not training. Follow Brendan on Twitter @bchurchin48 and check out all his articles exclusively at MMANonstop.com.

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