When this article came up in my assignments, my palm went right to my face. I was very tempted to simply write "he fell down and got beaten on," hit the "submit" button and just let the editors yell at me. Damn my responsible streak.
For those who did not see UFC 148, for shame.
The first round went pretty much exactly as Chael Sonnen would have wanted. Six seconds into the first round, he scored one of his now-trademark slippery double-leg takedowns and had the champ, Anderson Silva, on his back. He kept that position for the rest of the round, laying down some light ground-and-pound and easily earning the judge's nod for Round 1.
That, though, was the end of Sonnen's good times. The second round started and Silva successfully avoided a few takedown attempts. With about 3:45 remaining, Sonnen failed on a hip toss attempt, reset and tried to combo a hook into a spinning backfist.
The backfist missed by a mile and Sonnen ended up doing a spot-on impression of a dying Pac-Man, spinning around and falling on his butt. Silva then kneed Sonnen in the chest and began his own ground-and-pound. Sonnen squirmed out but was put against the cage, where Silva landed a punch that dropped Sonnen and finished him on the ground.
So, back to the original subject. What, oh what, went wrong for Chael P. Sonnen? Well, a few things.
The fact that Silva actually defended takedowns certainly did not help. Silva probably knew that, one day, he would fight Sonnen again.
Even if he did not, he fought Yushin Okami. Mark Munoz has also been waiting for a title shot for a while now. At some point in the last two years, Silva surely dedicated a good bit of effort toward improving his takedown defense.
Still, Sonnen did score that early takedown, and his attempts in the second round largely came against the cage, or while Silva was backpedaling. As such, fans should not suddenly declare Silva un-takedown-able quite yet.
Did Sonnen get overly confident standing? Perhaps. I am not a psychic, so I cannot exactly tell you what Sonnen was thinking when he decided to throw a backfist at Silva. He did land a couple punches on Silva in the fight, and landed more than a couple back at UFC 117, which may have made him forget Silva's knockout prowess.
Again, nobody knows what was going through Sonnen's head at the time except for Sonnen.
The one thing Sonnen definitely did wrong was turtle up when Silva had him on the ground the second time. Rich Franklin was hurt worse in the second round against Wanderlei Silva than Sonnen was against Anderson Silva in this fight. While Sonnen turtled up and simply ate punches, Franklin flailed and kicked and squirmed until he regained his senses.
Even then, how much of this loss can be chalked up to plain and simple bad luck? Even though it was a terribly stupid idea to try for a spinning backfist, I doubt many would disagree that 99 percent of the time, Sonnen is going to pull it off without toppling to the ground. That flop is what began the end of the fight.
So what did go wrong for Sonnen? He lost. That is all.
There is no one thing that went wrong for Sonnen that I can point at as “the thing that ended the fight.” Sonnen did some things right, some things wrong and some things happened that were out of his control. So did Silva.
The bottom line, ultimately, is that Silva won. That ends up being the only thing that truly went wrong for Sonnen.
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