Need a reminder of Silva's fight-altering triangle choke in the fifth round of their first bout? But Sonnen couldn't fall into that trap again, could he?
For Sonnen to win this fight, he needs to keep the same game plan but make minor tweaks. He has to get the takedown, but rather than sitting in guard, he'll need to move into half guard and side control to stay out of danger.
If he does this, Silva's options for winning will be greatly reduced, so what Silva needs to do to ensure a win is stop the takedown. This presumably is priority No. 1: Silva must stuff Sonnen's takedowns and force him to stand and trade with him.
Silva is the most deadly striker the UFC has ever seen, so that doesn't exactly bode well for Sonnen. Time and time again, fans have seen Silva reel off highlight knockouts, like his front kick to Vitor Belfort and his falling away jab to Forrest Griffin.
But what most of Silva's opponents do that Sonnen didn't in their bout at UFC 117 is let Silva settle in. He normally circles his opponent and feels him out for the first two minutes, and once Silva has the other fighter's range, well, he's in deep water.
Sonnen won't allow that to happen.
So rather than sitting back and using hand movement to set Sonnen up, Silva must be more aggressive. Silva is a counter-striker by nature, but in this fight he needs to press the action and get off first.
Though Sonnen has a proven chin, a solid connection from Silva could change the fight immediately. And once Silva connects, he can't rush in. He can't allow Sonnen to recover, but at the same time, he can't risk getting taken down.
Distance is key in this fight, and if Silva can control it, he'll have success. While Silva needs to be assertive, he can't go in there headhunting. That's exactly what Sonnen wants.
Silva has to control his emotions and attack with controlled aggression.
If he does that and stops Sonnen's takedowns, it will be a long night for the "American Gangster."
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