Currently booked to put their long-winded rivalry to bed at a Brazilian UFC Fight Night event on May 31, bitter enemies Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen have been in the news for what seems like an eternity now.

They’ve recently been in Sao Paulo filming the third season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, and not surprisingly, their teams got in a few heated exchanges during filming. Despite his aggressive nature, Silva actually said that the out-of-cage fighting was the thing he hated most about the show. “Wand” thinks that the audience will see that he was in the right once the show airs:

“It was the worst part of the show. I tell the other guys (on the show) ‘don’t do this and don’t do that,’ but (Sonnen) drives me nuts. I even apologized to the crew, but I’m not meek and mild.”

“There are things I can’t handle. The boss (Dana White) likes what it’s fair, he was not upset about it. When they air that on TV, you’ll see that I was right. I did what I had to do.” – via MMA Fighting

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For all their trash talk, the only thing that’s truly going to matter is the result of their upcoming grudge match. It’s been talked about for years now, and Silva had to bypass a litany of injuries to finally be able to face Sonnen.

And while “The Axe Murder” gives “The American Gangster” his props for being a good athlete, he won’t hand over full credit for Sonnen’s UFC Fight Night 26 submission of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua:

“(Sonnen) is a good athlete, I can’t underestimate him, but he didn’t beat the real Shogun,” he said. “Shogun gave him the neck. We can’t use that fight as a parameter.”

Silva went on to say that Sonnen’s last fight, a first round TKO loss to former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at last November’s UFC 167, was a much better gauge of where he’s really at:

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“He showed who he really is against Rashad (Evans). He goes in there wanting to quit. When I push him, his spirit will want to go back home.”

It’s highly debatable whether or not former Pride champ Silva will be able to take the fight to Sonnen like Evans did. After all, Evans is a former NCAA Division wrestler who has seamlessly transitioned his skills into MMA. But, “The Axe Murderer” isn’t worried about getting taken down.

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He knows Sonnen is susceptible to submissions, so he’ll be on the lookout for one when “Uncle Chael” inevitably drags him to the canvas:

“I’ll focus on training the game from the bottom, to sweep (him) and get on top. I won’t train too much on my takedown defense. If he takes me down, I’ll attack to submit or sweep.”

Silva has an interesting strategy because it’s never safe to let Sonnen put you on your back and hope to reverse positions. Silva has always been known for his dangerous Muay Thai striking, but he won’t be able to utilize that while off of his feet.

Does Silva truly stand a chance at defeating Sonnen, or will he get neutralized like many others have before him?