After last night’s UFC 148 weigh-ins, the anticipation for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s tenth consecutive title defense against arch-rival “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen reached an all-time high.

After Silva tipped the scales at 184 pounds and Sonnen weighed in on the dot at 185, Silva struck Sonnen with his shoulder during their staredown. Some say Silva checked Sonnen, while others say Silva threw a cheap shot. Any way you choose to slice it, though, Silva’s shoulder struck Sonnen.

The fact of the matter is that Sonnen has been under the skin of the champion ever since the first fight, and if Silva didn’t have anything to say about it before, he said plenty about Sonnen’s actions through his own rather uncharacteristic antics throughout fight week.

Silva has gone off on Sonnen via the UFC 148 conference call and he nearly came to blows with the challenger at Tuesday’s presser. The shoulder strike on Sonnen put the icing on the cake, and it has split the MMA world now more than before in their picks for the most heated MMA title fight in recent memory. Silva’s actions revealed that his poker face can be cracked in order to reveal an angry individual.

Silva’s actions also have helped fans understand how extremely important that poker face is now more than before as he prepares for his most emotionally-charged title defense to date, and the sooner Silva remembers that, the easier things will be for him tomorrow night.

Is Silva one of the sport’s most creative strikers? Absolutely, he is, and his highlight reel of finishes serves as a testament to his creativity as not only a striker, but also as a mixed martial artist. He’s knocked out fighters with everything but the Showtime Kick and he’s submitted noteworthy ground-gamers by taking everything except for a leg.

However, what’s that creativity worth with the anger that Silva has shown in recent weeks?

Silva knows what he has to do to win the rematch against Sonnen, but his desire to maim Sonnen—as honest as it is—currently clouds his mentality at this moment. For Silva to win, he simply must not fight with his emotions. If he brawls with Sonnen or gets careless in trying to send Sonnen into unconsciousness, he will expend more energy than he needs to expend on the offensive with a wrestler of Sonnen’s caliber.

Putting all of his energy in to one or more rage-filled attempts at finishing Sonnen will work against Silva and it will give Sonnen more of an invitation to implement his wrestling. Why is that? Because Sonnen knows how the last fight transpired between he and Silva, and the sting of tapping to Silva may motivate Sonnen to play the finisher in this outing.

Then again, this is really all speculation before the fight happens, and we’ve avoided many a key fact in this matter, one of which is that Silva has yet to lose in a rematch situation. We know Silva has avenged his loss to Yushin Okami and justified his victory over Rich Franklin by way of rematches. We also know that a rematch with a 184-pound Silva will not be the same as a rematch with an overweight Paulo Filho, and so Sonnen equally has his concerns with which he must contend in combating “The Spider.”

However, should Silva fight with his emotions and neither his Muay Thai nor his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu…well, in so many difficult words, he can kiss his title goodbye when he makes that walk down to the Octagon.

Photo: Anderson Silva at the UFC 148 Open Workouts (Sherdog.com)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.