And the plot thickens.
After Friday night’s epic weigh-in, one thing is clear: Anderson Silva is for real. When Silva delivered something of a cheap shot to Sonnen, a shoulder to the jaw, Silva showed that Chael is indeed in his head.
So now for the million dollar question: How will this affect the fight? Well, of course we won’t know until the very last bell rings and we have a winner. However, things could go badly for Silva if he can't control his hatred for Sonnen.
Here are some things to watch for:
In the first fight, Chael surprised Anderson with pace. This caused The Spider to have to turn it up in the Championship rounds. He was much more aggressive in the opening minute while the fight was standing in order to try and give Chael a new look and attempt to slow him down. Look for there to be little to no “feel out period” and for Anderson to attack from the starting bell.
Chael is going to look to take the center of the Octagon early and throw a few strikes before looking to take the fight down. In his last fight with Bisping, Chael was attacking straight forward and not using many angles on his initial approach. Against Anderson, he’ll eat some shots using that approach. So look for him to have better head movement at the outset.
This fight is almost certain not to play out like the last meeting between Silva and Sonnen because at UFC 117, Chael had a 17:1 testosterone ratio and Silva was working with broken ribs. In that fight, Chael was 2-for-5 in takedowns. Once on the ground, Chael was dominant, keeping the pressure up by hitting Silva over 300 times. He’ll need more of the same to come out with a victory. Look for Sonnen to get his first takedown in the second round and keep the fight there.
Surprisingly, Chael held his own in the stand-up game against Anderson. He rocked him a few times and took little damage while standing in front of Silva. No one is expecting that same result this time. Chael is only looking to use his striking to set up his takedowns, and Silva will try to use his striking to knock Chael out. Look for more aggressive early striking from The Spider.
This fight is going to hinge on two questions: Can Silva stop Chael’s ground control this time around, and can Chael stop Silva’s submissions? Chael has never been knocked out, but out of 11 losses, eight have come by submission. Look for this to be the first time he’s been KO’d.
Silva wins by KO in Round 2.