Following the UFC 148 open workouts, Chael Sonnen dropped what seemed like a bomb to many average observers, telling Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com that he will have to cut 20 pounds within the 24-hour time frame prior to the events weigh-ins on Friday.
For many readers of this article, that would seem like an impossibility. However, under the watchful eye of MMA nutritionist Mike Dolce, the inconceivable becomes believable for his fighters. Sonnen admitted he does not normally have to cut such a significant amount of weight, but he also put his faith in Dolce and doesn't appear to be at all worried about hitting the 185-pound mark when he steps on the scale.
"I got Mike Dolce with me," Sonnen said. "He says we got it under control, and I believe him."
While Sonnen appears confident he'll make weight, many might still have questions about the impact the weight cut could have on him during a potential five-round title fight against middleweight champion Anderson Silva on Saturday. In explaining his methods, Dolce used a lot of weight management lingo that this writer is too out of shape to comprehend, but it is impossible to argue with the man's results.
"For me, it seems like common sense now," Dolce said. "For everybody else, it seems like magic, but I think it's very simple."
Dolce has helped the likes of Quinton Jackson, Gray Maynard and Johnny Hendricks reach their full potential inside the cage. However, the former UFC fighter worked some of his best magic with welterweights Mike Pyle and Thiago Alves.
In an interview with Fighters.com, Dolce gave an explanation on how he helped Pyle cut 24 pounds prior to a UFC 128 bout against Ricardo Almeida. That is four more pounds than a heavier Sonnen will have to cut before UFC 148. Also, not only did Pyle make weight, but he went on to pick up one of the bigger wins of his UFC career by picking up a decision victory over Almeida.
The accomplishments he had with Pyle were impressive, but the success Dolce has had with Alves is what has made him the sport's most respected nutritionist. Prior to working with Dolce, Alves had missed weight twice in his career and was quite frankly in danger of angering the UFC brass to the point that they would release the former top welterweight contender.
After coming in overweight and losing to Jon Fitch, Alves decided to remain at 170 pounds and seek out the help of Dolce, who has ensured the Brazilian's ability to hit his mark on the scale in his past four fights. Additionally, Alves has appeared to be in even better condition under the guidance of Dolce and came 48 seconds away from defeating elite welterweight Martin Kampmann in his most recent bout.
Make no mistake. Losing 20 pounds in 24 hours will not be a fun chore for Sonnen, but it will not hurt the title challenger on fight night. Dolce will make sure of that, as the results have showed. If anything, fans can expect an even bigger, badder version of Sonnen than they saw in his first fight against Silva at UFC 117.
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