Silva -- his middleweight title reign at 2,092 days and counting -- clocked in at 184 pounds for his long-awaited rematch with Sonnen (185) in the UFC 148 main event on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The 10 other men on the six-fight main card, including co-headliners Tito Ortiz (204) and Forrest Griffin (204), also met their mandatory weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in.
Silva and Sonnen met for the first time at UFC 117 in August 2010, when the challenger controlled and largely dominated the champion for the better part of five rounds. However, Silva snatched a triangle armbar for the submission in the fifth, as he authored one of the most dramatic finishes in UFC history and kept his stranglehold on the middleweight division.
One of the sport’s most celebrated competitors, Silva has won 15 consecutive fights -- a record 14 of them inside the Octagon, nine of them middleweight title defenses. The 37-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt last appeared at UFC 134 in August, when he thrashed Yushin Okami en route to a second-round technical knockout. A lethal finisher, Silva has delivered 24 of his 31 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, 17 of them inside one round. Wins over onetime UFC champions Rich Franklin (twice) and Vitor Belfort, former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Dan Henderson and ex-middleweight King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt anchor his stellar resume.
Sonnen has rattled off back-to-back wins since his loss to Silva. The 35-year-old Team Quest representative last fought at UFC on FX 2 in January, when he took a unanimous verdict from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Michael Bisping at the United Center in Chicago. Sonnen, who wrestled collegiately at the University of Oregon, has made a career out a grinding style heavy on takedowns and ground-and-pound. He owns a 16-1-1 mark in fights that go the distance and has not lost a decision in nearly eight years.
UFC 148 “Silva vs. Sonnen 2” -- which airs live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT -- will also feature a middleweight tilt matching former Strikeforce champion Cung Le (185) with Patrick Cote (185), a welterweight duel pitting 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Demian Maia (170) against Dong Hyun Kim (170), a featherweight scrap pairing Team Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes (146) with Cody McKenzie (145) and a bantamweight bout between Tristar Gym representative Ivan Menjivar (136) and Mike Easton (135).
Two hours prior, the FX network will carry four preliminary matchups: Gleison Tibau (155) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (155), Melvin Guillard (155) vs. Fabricio Camoes (156), Constantinos Philippou (186) vs. Riki Fukuda (185) and Shane Roller (155) vs. John Alessio (156). The remaining bout will stream live to the UFC’s Facebook page, as AMA Fight Club’s Rafaello Oliveira (156) locks horns with Yoislandy Izquierdo (156).
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