Chael Sonnen: Takedowns Key to Chris Weidman Victory at UFC 168

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2013

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman during the post fight press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman defeated Anderson Silva for the Middleweight Chamionship in a TKO in the second round. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Chris Weidman's victory over Anderson Silva at UFC 162 will go down as one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history.

It was a moment of unfathomable glory that not only gave Weidman the grand recognition he deserved, but proved yet again that underestimating any Octagon opponent can be forever deadly.

But as prolific and memorable as their first meeting was, there's really no predicting the outcome of their rematch at UFC 168 next weekend.

However, that doesn't mean we can't talk about it. That doesn't mean a media ambassador like Chael Sonnen, who before Weidman was the first man to ever test the will and sustainability of "The Spider," can't give his two cents.

"It’s the takedowns," said Sonnen during his usual stint on UFC Tonight, originally reported by MMA Underground. "He was a college all-American in wrestling. He’s got to move forward, he can’t back up. He’s got to land the takedown, and have ground control. He’s got to look for a submission, but watch out for Silva’s submission attempts."

If anybody knows about taking Silva down and watching out for submissions, it's Sonnen. He did such a good job of stifling the world-class striker at UFC 117 for nearly five-straight rounds, but he was memorably tapped with just under two minutes remaining in the fight.

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman, blue shorts, defeated Anderson Silva (yellow shorts) in the second round with a TKO in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

"That’s how he sets you up," added Sonnen regarding Silva's clowning on his feet. "He’s like the Medusa; he freezes you and gets you to turn to stone, then knocks you out. He did that to stop the take downs in the first fight."

For Weidman to be truly effective in this fight he has to stick to his own game plan. His first encounter with Silva obviously ended the way he had hoped, but he was essentially being toyed with in that elusive second round.

The champ needs to keep his head on a swivel, utilize his big frame, stay away from crazy exchanges and try to pressure the Brazilian by utilizing ground-and-pound.

If Sonnen did it, so can Weidman. Just look out for that triangle armbar.


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