Every time UFC puts on an event, speculation, questions, and theories arise about which fighters will perform, or underperform. Will new contenders emerge? Will established ones fall? Where will the winners go? Which losers will still have a job on Monday? Who is healthy? Who is fighting injured? Anytime the UFC athletes are set to enter the octagon, questions follow.
That being said, here are four burning questions going into UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II.
4. How Will Demian Maia Perform At 170-pounds?
A loser of two of his last three bouts, including a disappointing unanimous decision loss to Chris Weidman at UFC on FOX 2, Brazilian submission specialist Demian Maia makes the drop to the welterweight division in hopes of finding the kind of success he had earlier in his career.
While Maia did have a fairly successful run in the middleweight division, going 9-3 against some very tough competitors, it has come to the point where he is unable match the strength of his opponents and compete effectively against the top fighters in the middleweight division. Now he has a chance at a fresh start.
A drop in weight gives Maia a chance to compete against athletes who are of similar physical stature, something that will be hugely beneficial if he can cut the weight effectively. Maia is a dangerous grappler with respective skills on the feet, but after his last performance against Weidman, conditioning is the big question mark leading into Maia’s welterweight debut against Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148.
It should be interesting to see what toll, if any, the weight cut takes on the Brazilian fighter and how he performs come fight night.
3. Can Tito Ortiz End His Career On Top?
Saturday’s fight against Forrest Griffin will be the last of Tito Ortiz’s illustrious career. Ortiz has let it be known that no matter the result, UFC 148 will be the last fight of his career. The 37-year-old has publicly declared he will retire from the sport win, lose, or draw.
“The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has competed in many memorable battles over the course of his 15-year career including a record 5-consecutive light heavyweight title defenses.
Ortiz is choosing to go out on his terms, and he picked the correct time to do so as he is on the downside of his career, going 1-6-1 in his last eight bouts with the lone win coming against Ryan Bader at UFC 132 in July 2011.
On Saturday night, Ortiz will collide with Griffin for the third time in his career and is without a doubt going to give it his all to go out on top. The question is, does Ortiz have enough in the tank to pull out one final miraculous victory so he can ride off into the sunset with his hands held high?
2. Will Chael Sonnen Finally Win A UFC Championship?
Exactly 23-months prior to the night of UFC 148, Chael Sonnen was literally minutes from becoming the first man to defeat Anderson Silva in the UFC and becoming new middleweight champion.
Sonnen is the consensus number two 185-pound fighter in the world. He holds victories over an abundance of elite fighters, however the one thing missing from his resume is a world championship in a major organization.
The Oregon native has stated that for everything he has accomplished in his 35-year life, he would give it all up to be champion for just one night. Sonnen was so, so close to defeating Silva last time they met and if he can employ the same strategy, with only a few minor adjustments, he should be able to walk away with the belt.
UFC 148 will mark fight number 39 in Sonnen’s career. Can he finally accomplish what he has worked so hard for and become the UFC middleweight champion of the world?
1. Who Will Win The Most Anticipated Rematch In UFC History?
The most anticipated rematch in UFC history headlines UFC 148 in Las Vegas as bitter rivals Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Chael Sonnen are set to run it back for the second time in a rematch of their UFC 117 Fight of the Year winning bout from August 2010.
The first fight between Silva and Sonnen is one of the most memorable in UFC history. Sonnen dominated the champion for four-and-a-half rounds (roughly 23-minutes) with a high volume ground-and-pound attack, only to have Silva score an incredible come-from-behind fifth round submission.
As previously discussed, will Sonnen be able to make the minor adjustments in his game to avoid making the small mistakes that caused him to lose the last fight just minutes before he handed Silva his first UFC defeat? Or will Silva succeed in his promise to break every limb in Sonnen’s body, making the Oregon native win number 15 on his UFC historic resume?