UFC 148: Saturday, July 7, 2012 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (-240) Profile: The top pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet today is Anderson Silva (31-4). “The Spider” holds UFC records for the most consecutive title defenses (nine) and the most consecutive wins (14) while earning multiple Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night awards during his career. The 37-year-old Brazilian can and will do anything in the cage, although he has been criticized in the past for not putting on enough of a show for the fans. That has changed in his past few bouts though, starting with his remarkable comeback win against top middleweight contender Chael Sonnen in their epic fight at UFC 117. He followed that up by destroying Vitor Belfort in the first round with a front kick knockout and then dominating Sonnen’s training partner Yushin Okami in Brazil at UFC 134 with a second-round TKO. Now Silva welcomes Sonnen for a highly-anticipated rematch with a chip on his shoulder after his narrow escape in the first meeting, promising to injure him to the point that he will not be able to walk out of the Octagon by himself. Top Middleweight Contender Chael Sonnen (+190) Profile: The self-proclaimed “American Gangster” out of West Linn, Oregon, Sonnen (27-11-1) has wrestled the UFC middleweight division to the ground, outside of two triangle submission losses to Demian Maia and UFC champion Anderson Silva. Since his infamous loss to Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 117, the 35-year-old has served a suspension for elevated testosterone levels, earned his first-ever victory in the UFC via an arm-triangle choke submission against Brian Stann in his first fight back, then beat Michael Bisping by a controversial unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 2. Sonnen nearly defeated Silva in the first meeting, dominating the first four rounds before falling into the web of “The Spider” in Round 5. He believes he has some unfinished business to tend to in the rematch, but Silva has not lost in more than six years. Opening UFC 148 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made the champion Silva a solid -240 favorite (bet $240 to win $100) while the challenger Sonnen opened as a +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $190) according to the MMA odds. This rematch for the middlweight title at UFC 148 could end up being the biggest fight in MMA history. There also seems to be significant value on Silva after he closed as a heavy -475 favorite heading into the first fight. Bettors have realized this early on, moving the line in his favor. Sonnen called out Silva leading up to the first meeting and almost backed up his talk. The roles are reversed this time around, and many sharp MMA betting experts believe Silva is more focused on this fight than any in his long career. If that turns out to be the case, Sonnen could be in big trouble. However, Silva has been uncharacteristically vocal lately and may be overly excited about beating Sonnen again. While that might work against him, Silva is the longest-running UFC champion for a reason, so there is a better chance it will work for him instead.