Monthly Archives: January 2012

Is Sonnen ready for a title shot?

Anyone who knows me knows I wanted Chael Sonnen (27-11-1, 6-4 UFC) to win his fight against Michael Bisping (22-4, 11-4 UFC) this past weekend but I fully expected the fight to be less competitive than it was. Chael is known for pushing a high and frantic pace and really throwing his opponents off of their gameplan which is why he was able to fight middleweight champion Anderson Silva almost 100% successfully in August of 2010. Despite this, Michael Bisping was able to control Sonnen against the cage for the better parts of rounds one and two and was successfully able to get back to his feet whenever Sonnen took him down, save for the third round. The most shocking point however is that despite Bisping seemingly winning rounds one and two, FightMetric.com clearly showed that Sonnen outstruck Bisping overall (http://blog.fightmetric.com/2012/01/sonnen-vs-bisping-official-ufc.html).

Chael was ultimately declared the winner via unanimous decision which has now set him up for the rematch with Silva he has so zealously pursued since his loss at UFC 117. Every MMA fan on the planet knows what happened that night. Sonnen beat Silva up for four rounds before being caught in a “Hail Mary” triangle choke from Silva on the bottom. Since then, Sonnen has shown improvements in his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), most noticeably when he choked out Brian Stann at UFC 136 via arm triangle. Sonnen has upped the ante with his trash talk, despite claiming to be “done with Silva” and even bringing out a fake UFC belt to the UFC on Fox 2 pre-fight press conference.

Despite the win this past weekend, some people question the legitimacy of Sonnen’s chances in a rematch with Silva. It is widely known that Silva fought with an injured rib in their last bout and (depending on who you ask) Sonnen’s TRT helped him with his cardio in the fight as well. Not to mention, Sonnen is the #2 ranked middleweight in the world today whereas Bisping is (at this time) ranked #8. Nobody expected Bisping to give Sonnen such a competitive fight on Saturday and some wonder if Sonnen would really last even three rounds with Silva in a rematch. The three things that Sonnen has going for him over Silva are his cardio, wrestling, and desire to win. It’s no secret that Anderson Silva, for all the talk about him being the #1 pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, can’t wrestle his way out of a box and his cardio while decent, is not on Sonnen’s level. Sonnen was able to beat up Anderson easily in their first fight because he pushed a furious pace and Silva wasn’t able to gauge Sonnen’s timing and throw more accurate counter-punches like he has done with every other opponent he has ever faced. Silva has surely been working on his wrestling since then and there’s no love lost between both fighters (especially since Sonnen’s comments regarding Silva’s wife). Silva will be coming into the fight much more prepared than last time.

The only thing that Sonnen can hope for in the rematch is that Silva is still injured. Silva has been nursing a shoulder injury since his fight at UFC 134 against Yushin Okami (26-6, 10-3 UFC) and while it may not be as serious as a broken rib, it would certainly help Chael out when it comes to fight time. As well, Sonnen wants to win this fight so badly that it’s hard to imagine him faltering. I know that sounds wishy-washy but when you look at how the first fight went down plus all of Sonnen’s hype so far, it’s easy to imagine.

Do I want to see Sonnen upset Silva and take home the title? Hell yes. Do I think it will realistically happen? Probably not.

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UFC on Fox 2

Let’s talk about UFC on Fox 2. The main event features a three-round fight between light-heavyweights Rashad Evans (18-1-1, 11-1-1 UFC) and Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (9-0, 5-0 UFC). The co-main event is a middleweight scrap between contenders Michael “The Count” Bisping (22-3, 11-3 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (26-11-1, 5-4 UFC). The first bout to be aired on the main card is another middleweight battle between Demian Maia (16-3, 9-3 UFC) and Chris Weidman (7-0, 3-0 UFC).

The truth of the matter is that the card is pretty decent but for all intents and purposes, all eyes are on the main event and co-main event with good reason. Both bouts feature fighters that people are most interested in and both fights have title implications. Rashad Evans has been gunning for his chance at light-heavyweight champion, and former training partner, Jon “Bones Jones (15-1, 9-1 UFC) while Phil Davis is seen by some as the only legitimate thread to Bones’ title. Michael Bisping has been longing for a shot at the middleweight belt presently held by Anderson “The Spider” Silva (31-4, 14-0 UFC) while Chael Sonnen is the only man in the UFC to very nearly defeat Silva in their title fight back in 2010 at UFC 117.

The fight between Evans and Davis is a curious one because from where I’m coming from, I almost see two fighters that are mirror images of each other, in a way. Davis is a very good grappler with decent striking and almost seems like a younger version of Evans. It goes without saying that Evans is the more experienced fighter and is a former champion so psychologically, that gives him an advantage. Evans’ striking is superior, both in terms of technique and power (who can forget his KO of Chuck Liddell at UFC 88?) As much as I want Davis to win because I tend to root for underdogs, it’s likely he’ll get past Evans. Davis’ striking is very rudimentary and while he does possess the better wrestling credentials, he telegraphs his shots rather than setting them up with strikes. If he is able to get Evans down and can control him on the mat, I see Davis winning by third round submission at best if he can wear Evans out. But a more realistic prediction from me likely sees a 1st round TKO.

Now onto the fight I’m looking forward to more than any other; the co-main event. I don’t like Michael Bisping. In fact, I hate him. He runs his mouth for no good reason and strikes me as a self-centred prick. After seeing his behaviour as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter seasons 9 and 14, I never cared for his trash talk. I respect him as a fighter because he is talented and can hurt people. As a human being though, I can’t stand him. Some people would say the same thing about Chael Sonnen, given his track record of trash talking especially where the country of Brazil is concerned, but unless you’re really touchy and sensitive, you can’t take the guy seriously. At least 50% of what he says is complete nonsense and it makes you laugh. You would also be hard-pressed to find any fight fan that doesn’t want to see a rematch between him and Silva. I see this being an easy grind match at worst, or a second round submission by Sonnen purely because he’s much more aggressive than Bisping and can push a higher pace.

I welcome your thoughts and criticisms.