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It may seem backwards to suggest that an offensive weapon—particularly one as intimidating as Shogun’s leg kicks—are in fact a tool the Sonnen can use to his advantage, but certain stylistic matchups allow for such happenings.
This is one such matchup.
Any good wrestler with enough training and cage time can become quite adept at catching any kick coming in above the knee. Once they do, it’s basically gift wrapping a takedown for them, and from there the guy on his back is in lots of trouble.
Think of guys like Frankie Edgar and Cain Velasquez, two wrestlers who have made catching kicks and returning fire with punches or shots major parts of their game.
While Rua’s kicks are among the heaviest in the sport, if Sonnen has been working on catching kicks and exploding through for takedowns during his camp, he could turn one of the biggest weapons in his opponent’s arsenal into a weakness he can exploit for his own benefit.