What do we make of Chael Sonnen?
That's the question reverberating around my head, 24 hours after Sonnen surprised us all by beating Mauricio "Shogun" Rua by submission to cap off an excellent debut for the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Fox Sports 1 Saturday night.
The surprising part isn't that Sonnen won. I predicted that outcome earlier this week. I believed that Sonnen's new affiliation with the Reign Training Center in southern California would, for the first time in a very long time, make Sonnen an even better fighter than the man who twice stepped in the cage with Anderson Silva and took on Jon Jones earlier this year. I felt the experience of working with a disciplined team instead of spending most of his time training solo near his home in Oregon would sharpen Sonnen's skills, and I was right.
But even though I predicted that Sonnen would easily handle Rua, I never expected him to win by submission; a prop bet on Sonnen submitting Rua clocked in at plus-575 via 5Dimes, which is to say that oddsmakers, media and fans didn't expect it to happen. And yet, happen it did, as Sonnen utterly dominated Rua before securing a fight-ending guillotine choke late in the first round.
Sonnen provided plenty of interesting talking points after Fox Sports 1, but the rest of the card delivered in spades, too. But what's next for "The Bad Guy" and the rest of the FS1 winners? I'm here to play fantasy matchmaker and tell you what I'd do with Sonnen, Travis Browne and the rest of the victors from the Fox Sports 1 main card.
Let's take a look.