Anderson Silva says advantage of boxing Chael Sonnen is ‘he can’t take me down and have five rounds to beat me’

RIO DE JANEIRO — Anderson Silva is hoping for no drama when he faces Chael Sonnen under boxing rules.

In 2010, Sonnen gave Silva one of his toughest challenges as UFC middleweight champion, forcing Silva to come back from nearly five rounds of domination to win via Hail Mary submission in the final round. Silva then won a rematch via second-round TKO in 2012, landing a brutal knee to the chest followed by punches on the ground. The two rivals now meet in a trilogy bout Saturday, this time in a boxing exhibition in the main event of Spaten Fight Night, and Silva isn’t exactly upset that Sonnen won’t be able to use his wrestling.

“The advantage is that he he can’t take me down and have five rounds to beat me,” Silva said with a laugh during his open workout media scrum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ahead of the five-round boxing exhibition. “He will have to beat me on the feet. He can’t catch me on the ground because it’s just boxing. That’s an advantage!”

Silva declined to give an official prediction for the bout.

“You’re creating trouble for me,” Silva said with another laugh. “I don’t know how many rounds it’s going to last, but I hope it doesn’t last long. And I hope I win.”

Silva and Sonnen are set to meet at a 216-pound catchweight. “The Spider” expects Sonnen to come prepared after working on his striking skills over two decades of MMA competition.

“This rivalry with Chael is super interesting because Chael has transformed me into a better athlete, and I’ve transformed him into a better athlete,” Silva said. “I’ve trained more. Some difficulties I had in jiu-jitsu, Chael made me work on that since he’s a wrestler, so he made me a better fighter. And I made him train more to become a better fighter.

“Even though many years have passed, and things have happened, new fighters came and other fights happened, the two fights we had will never leave the head of the fans and the new generations.”

Silva and Sonnen’s first legendary encounter is set to be inducted into the Fight Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in late June during International Fight Week in Las Vegas.

The two share a faceoff Wednesday in Sao Paulo, and Silva expects shenanigans.

“Everybody knows Chael is controversial, so I’m not prepared for the faceoff,” Silva said, laughing again. “I don’t know what will come from that side. He’s kind of crazy.”

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