UFC 148: Everything You Need to Know About Silva vs Sonnen 2
Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen II.
Undeniably the biggest fight of the summer and maybe even the year.
First set to be fought in a soccer stadium in Brazil, now to be fought at MGM Grand, this grudge will come to a screeching halt.
We all know what happened the first time around. Chael took the fight to Anderson like no one ever had before. Dominating him not only on the ground but also getting the best of him during standing exchanges. The incredible performance by Sonnen was quickly soiled by his inability to defend the triangle choke. Eight seconds is what separated crowning a new Champion from witnessing MMA's version of The Immaculate Reception.
What makes this rematch so intriguing is that both men have to make adjustments. Silva definitely doesn't want to be carrying Chael's body weight for 20 minutes, and Chael doesn't want to get caught up in Silva's tricky triangle.
So what is set to change for the next bout? Who's made the proper adjustments and necessary changes needed in order to secure a victory? Well here's everything that you need to know about the main event of what's sure to be one of the most successful UFC PPV events of the year.
The First Fight by the Numbers
August 7, 2010.
This is a match that has to go down as maybe the greatest comeback of all time. Sonnen controlled the fight for 23 of the 25 minutes, with powerful takedowns and relentless ground-and-pound work. He even hit Anderson a record 320 times! Then in 8 seconds The American Gangster found himself tangled in The Spider’s web, and the match was over. But just how impressive was this victory? Let’s look at the numbers.
Significant strikes: Silva 29/57 51% Sonnen 89/168 53%
Total strikes: Silva 64/95 67% Sonnen 320/434 74%
Takedowns: Silva 1 of 1 Sonnen 3 of 7
Quite frankly, this match wasn't close. Getting hit 320 times is amazing in itself, much less the ability to come back from it. Not even the judges of the Pacquiao-Bradley match could've messed up this decision. It truly was one-sided to the point where a triangle or armbar was the only way Silva could've won. And he did.
October 4th, 2011. On the MMA Show with Mauro Ranallo, Chael decided to say something that even he may regret.
“You tell Anderson Silva I’m coming over and I’m kicking down his backdoor and patting his little lady on the ass and I’m telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare just how I like it.”
Silva responded later by saying this: (via MMAMania.com)
"Chael has good wrestling. The first fight, I broke my ribs, I fought with broken ribs. But that's okay, I finished the fight and I win. But this time I am ready. I am training hard, this is a different fight. My opinion for Chael is that this guy does not respect nothing. This time in this sport is very important. The people watching the UFC, the people that watch Chael Sonnen talking, they are like 'What? What is this sport? I don't like this sport. This guy doesn't respect nothing.”
“I understand sometimes you need to promote the fight but, I don't know. Chael talks about my people in Brazil, about my wife, about the older fighters. It's his problem, it's no good, it's no good promotion, this is a sport. I love my sport. I love it and I respect the older people and the older fighters of the sport. This is a great time for the sport. But Chael maybe does not understand this, his problem is he talks too much. It is no good."
Anderson Silva is a better man than most. Taking the high road after Chael said that he’s going to pat his wife on the butt then tell her to make him a steak is something most men wouldn’t fathom doing.
Keep in mind that this happened after the first fight, which also brings a sort of revenge factor for The Spider into this fight.
This is the kind of match that epitomizes what the UFC is all about.
A great stand-up fighter vs. a great grappler. These are two men who are masters at their respective crafts, and whose sole purpose is to impose their will on the other man. No game-planning or strategizing, just going out and doing what they do.
We all know that Sonnen is going to look to push the pace and pressure Silva, while going for (and completing) takedowns.
We also know that Silva is going to look to stuff the takedowns and keep the fight standing, to pick apart Sonnen.
Whose style will win out?
Obviously both men are going to look at the last fight and try to find better ways to get a victory. I’m sure Silva won’t employ the “stay on your back for 22 minutes then apply a miraculous triangle choke” strategy. And Chael won’t be looking to get sloppy and tap out in the final minutes.
With that being said, things are pretty quiet on the Silva front regarding any wrestlers joining his camp. No doubt he is working hard on his jiu-jitsu and studying how Sonnen attacked him last time, in order to put himself in better positions to succeed.
With Sonnen, there is a bit of news and adjustments. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has joined his camp as a strength and conditioning coach. Sonnen did wear down in the Championship rounds against Silva last time, so working on his conditioning could prove to be a big step.
Also, it’s been said that Sonnen doesn’t want to just grind out a five-round decision vs. The Spider, but he’s been working on a certain submission to defeat the Middleweight King.
Submitting the BJJ ace would be a huge accomplishment, but it remains to be seen if the “American Gangster” has truly come that far. After recently submitting Brian Stann with an arm triangle choke, maybe he has.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
After the epic fight against Silva, Sonnen’s testosterone levels came back at a whopping ratio of 16.9:1. Many pointed to the obvious use of anabolic steroids, but it’s worth noting that he never tested positive for a steroid.
After everything was out, Chael said that he was in need of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). TRT is a treatment for people suffering from naturally low testosterone to bring them back up to normal levels. The NSAC granted his use of therapeutic TRT and will monitor his levels throughout, capping him at a 6:1 ratio.
The question is, how will this effect the fight? Sonnen fought relentlessly through five rounds with the testosterone of 17 men, but can he repeat that performance capped out at six?
The third man in the Octagon will be none other than Yves Lavigne. Lavigne is a long-time MMA referee with over 130 fights on his resumé and who is respected in the MMA community.
However, just like with any referee or official, there have been some questionable calls. At UFC 115, Matt Wiman had Mac Danzig mounted and locked in a deep guillotine choke. Wiman then said he thought Danzig was out cold. Lavigne checked and stopped the fight, thinking Danzig was unconscious. Immediately after Wiman released the hold, Danzig sat up and protested the stoppage, noting that he was conscious. Unfortunately for Danzig, the match couldn’t be restarted.
Another example of this is when Jake Rosholt had Chris Leben in a tight arm triangle choke. Leben finally tapped, while blacking out in the middle of his tap. Lavigne went to rush in and stop it, then hesitated before finally jumping in. As a result, Leben began to convulse in the middle of the ring while the medical staff rushed to his aid. Leben awoke seconds later and appeared to be of total coherence.
Now with that said, a referee is going to have bad stoppages. He’s human after all, and we can’t expect him to be perfect. There are many matches he called that have been stopped at the right time—however, in officiating, it’s the misses that stand out.
With how Sonnen lightly tapped in the first matchup against Silva, it’ll be interesting to see how Lavigne handles the situation, if and when it gets to that.
Path to Victory
In an MMA match, there are multiple ways to win for either man.
In this match, there are just a couple.
I’ve already touched on the fact that Sonnen is a great grappler with the skills to take Silva to the ground. I’ve also stated the need for Silva to want to keep this fight standing up and take advantage of The American Gangster’s limited striking set.
With that said, this match will end one of two ways.
Silva by submission.
Sonnen by decision.
Yes, Sonnen has been practicing a submission that he’ll attempt to finish The Spider with, but that just won’t happen. Silva will want to keep this fight standing in order to knock Chael out. That won’t happen either. This fight is as simple as knowing if there’s going to be a finish or not.
If so, give me Silva. If not, give me Sonnen. But either way, just give us all another great fight.