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The UFC Middleweight scene After Silva vs. Okami

| July 26, 2011 | Reply

In the weeks leading up to UFC 134: Rio, everyone’s attention will be on the middleweight division and mainly, the reigning king – Anderson Silva. Since arriving in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, dispensing of Chris Leben in under a minute, the man has gone onto destroy (physically, emotionally and mentally) everyone who has stepped into the octagon with him.

Yushin Okami stands on deck waiting to step up to the plate for a miracle home run. Technically as the last to beat “The Spider” with a disqualification win back in 2006, the mindset will be to finish the champion decisively and become the new middleweight champion. Everyone has a puncher’s chance but Anderson Silva is not everyone; being able to read and anticipate every strike coming his way, a win over the Japanese wrestler seems imminent.

Waiting in the wings for this movie to end are the fantastic four: Chris Leben, Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz. All of these fighters are equally deserving of their shot at the middleweight crown but have to make it through each other first.


Stann is going into his fall matchup with the former Oregon realtor in a determiner fight for number one contender status. Riding a three fight win streak (finishing all opponents) the Silver Star recipient is in no mood to stop. A majority of his wins have come from KO/TKO and he has only been finished twice in his three losses. Not one to back down from a challenge, Stann will walk into the cage determined to win and claim his title shot for the UFC middleweight gold.

With a PhD in trash talking and a minor in verbal fertilization, Chael Sonnen is not scared to fight anyone. Recently tweeting Dana White to fight Rashad Evans, he is not one to turn away. Proclaiming throughout the years that he is a “fighter” where other competitors are good shadow boxers, Sonnen has made it his motive to play mental warfare with an opponent leading up to a fight.

Being an actual combat veteran, Stann will be immune to the childish tactics the testosterone deprived Sonnen will employ. A seasoned veteran, Sonnen is able to back up what he says. Being the only man to have beaten Silva by points (until the triangle armbar submission) he was on the way for glory. His personal medical issues and legal troubles have kept him out of action for a year and perhaps ring rust will play a factor in his return bout later in the year.

Mark Munoz UFC 96 MarkMunozNet 218x300 The UFC Middleweight scene After Silva vs. Okami

Mark Munoz Will look to win his fourth in a row


Debuting as the original bad boy of the TUF house, Leben has gone onto evolve into a talented and always dangerous fighter. The southpaw is riding the 27 second KO (and possible retiring) of Wanderlei Silva and enters with momentum against Mark Munoz in London this October (UFC 138).

Able to weather the storm while delivering damage, Leben can take what Munoz throws while timing to throw the lethal left hand. A win over Munoz should put him in the spot for the middleweight title. Re-matching against Silva would be a different Leben; where Franklin was almost the same fighter against Silva, fighting in a year’s span and being defeated by knees both times. Leben has had years since the last fight, moved to Hawaii for training and matured overall.

The Filipino Wrecking Machine is on a mission. Defeating his last three opponents since a split decision loss to Okami in 2010, Munoz is primed for greatness. Always evolving and relying on a strong training team at Reign Training Center, the wrestler has gained the confidence in his hands he previously lacked, which will be trouble for anyone in their way. Capable of getting it to the ground and finishing the fight with world-class wrestling, Munoz will ground and pound his case for a rematch with Okami or a fight with training partner, Anderson Silva.

All in all, it does not look like anyone honestly has what it takes to dethrone the champion. Silva is too elusive, too big and too good in all aspects to be beaten. We have seen him in trouble, seen him hurt, get hit and taken down but he has always come out on top. Time will tell who will be champion; by the end of 2011 it should all be settled for a nice super bowl 2012 middleweight throw down.

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Tags: Anderson Silva, Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen, Chris Leben, Mark Munoz, Middleweight, MMA, UFC, UFC 134, Yushin Okami

Category: Exclusive, Featured, MMA, UFC

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