Prior to the fight, each fighter’s expected strategy wasn’t a secret: Sonnen needed to drag this fight to the ground, while Silva looked to keep it standing. Domination was the intended goal for each fighter, and while Sonnen struck first, Silva bounced back in devastating fashion later in the fight.
In the first round, Sonnen successfully shot in and took Silva down to the mat. The ‘American Gangster’ controlled the entire five minutes, ending the first round in full mount. Again, he seemed to have the strategy to frustrate and control Silva – even if he was unable to land any significant ground and pound.
Starting the second round, Sonnen rushed the champion and pinned him against the cage while looking for another take down. Silva defended the take down but absorbed a few knees, and capitalized when Sonnen suddenly decided to go for a spinning back fist.
After clearly making an adjustment between rounds, Silva followed his keys to victory perfectly: avoid the take down, and capitalize on any mistakes made by Sonnen. Silva avoided being planted on his back, and instantly jumped on Sonnen after the American fighter missed while trying to land a reckless spinning back fist.
Silva landed a perfectly placed knee – 100 percent legal – to Sonnen’s sternum, and followed up with ground and pound.
Following the fight, Silva acknowledged the victory – and respectfully called a truce to the end of his fight rivalry with Sonnen. During his post-fight speech with Joe Rogan, here is what the champion had to say:
“Chael disrespected my country, but it’s fine. Yeah, I have big emotions… (but) let’s show that Brazil has manners. I want everyone to applaud Chael.”
I believed Sonnen would be able to learn from his mistakes following the first fight with Silva, predicting he'd win by submission. However, Silva took advantage of Sonnen’s reckless and rather sudden standup strategy, and that has to be applauded.
In other words: He did what elite athletes do, and was prepared to fight any possibility in the cage.
On the biggest stage, Silva reaffirmed why he’s the best MMA fighter on the planet. He’s now 15-0 in the UFC, and successfully defended the middleweight championship for the 10th consecutive time. Impressive – and he plans to continue facing any and all middleweight challengers.
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