The De Souza Special, Pre-UFC 116 Edition: Soszynski-Bonnar II

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The De Souza Special, Pre-UFC 116 Edition: Soszynski-Bonnar II

There's no way to sugarcoat it in print without outright lying and saying "it never happened."

Krzystof Soszynski's UFC 110 encounter with Stephan Bonnar was about as controversial as a non-title fight can get.

In round three of their fight, Soszynski threw a shot that landed, but in retrospect, the shot did fairly little to put Bonnar in deep trouble though it seemed to shake him up a bit.

It was an accidental head-on collision between Bonnar and Soszynski that chalked up a "W" for "The Polish Experiment" in controversial fashion.

Surprisingly, the New South Wales Sports Combat Authority, who overlooked the decision and could have overturned it, opted to let the call rest as it stood.

Knowing deep down that Bonnar would be less than likely to risk termination with the UFC whether he won or lost, I leaned towards Soszynski in the first fight.

Will I probably lean towards Soszynski tonight? Yeah, it's more than likely that I do.

The main concern with Bonnar is whether or not he's really evolved since the electrifying first fight with Forrest Griffin. Many would look at this fight and feel as though Bonnar is at a disadvantage against a seemingly more evolved and more well-rounded fighter.

However, could Bonnar present obstacles for "The Polish Experiment" in the second go-round?

Let's have ourselves a look, shall we?

 

Striking

It's been said before that Soszynski is predominantly the ground-and-pound type of fighter.

If he finds a shot to throw an opponent down, he's going to find a way to get top control and rain down on an opponent with a hailstorm of punches.

With time though, K-Sos worked some boxing into his game and has become a threat on the feet, defeating seven out of nineteen people by way of knockout.

Like Bonnar, the majority of the wins on Soszynski's resume come by way of submission, but Soszynski has proven himself proficient on the feet as well.

Bonnar admits he ain't the quickest starter in the sport, per say, but regardless of what type of starter he is, Bonnar will have to attempt to be aggressive in his quest for this all-important win.

If he has to throw a few leg kicks or pull out some high-level Muay Thai maneuver in order to do it, then so be it.

One other thing for Bonnar to chalk up a redeemer in this fight is to take a "time and target" approach.

Definitely, timing a shot is a must for any fighter, but in Bonnar's case it's essential.

Also, when he lands a shot somewhere, it'd be to Bonnar's advantage to see that spot as a target and aim for that spot.

While I wouldn't suggest that he'd get a KO win that way, I am suggesting that if Bonnar can weaken one part of Soszynski's anatomical form, perhaps the damage will be enough to deplete his gas tank long enough for Bonnar to land some kill-shots on Soszynski.

If he can't seem to get it with the hands, he'll have to use his legs to take out those of Soszynski.

Not doing either coulld result in an exchange—where Bonnar has proven comfortable in during past fights—but it's difficult to tell if Bonnar would get the better of Soszynski in that situation.

Maybe he would, or maybe Soszynski would land a shot that hands Bonnar his first actual KO loss in his pro career.

I say take the mauler method—the "time and target" approach with Soszynski.

Bonnar's not going to have the door let open for him with his own strikes against the Polish-Canadian standout, but he could at least cause some heavy damage if he can take one part of Soszynski's body out of the equation.

 

Groundwork

BJJ fighters can take people down, too.

Bonnar just hasn't been as successful with them lately.

Even if he can trip Soszynski, it's going to take Bonnar somewhere that he definitely wants to be, and that's in a dominant position.

Whether that's dominant on the side or on top is beyond my predictibility.

Either way, Bonnar's going to have to do his best to stuff Soszynski's takedown attempts if Soszynski should attempt any.

When BJJ is in question, that's when it could be a stalemate.

Bonnar is a purple belt in the art, which isn't bad for a guy who has beaten seven out of eleven people by submission in his career.

Soszynski has some BJJ skill of his own and has utilized the said skill twice more than his opponent in order to rack up his current submission win record.

BJJ is more than just working the submissions, though. It's also in the way you control someone on the ground, whether it's from the top or the bottom.

Most might anticipate this being a standup war and I'm going to firmly declare that I'm one of those people, but if it does go to the ground, Soszynski's wrestling might not be the only problem that Bonnar has to contend with.

Bonnar will have to simply find an opening to change his position if he winds up on his back. If it means keeping Soszynski in his guard and finding an occasion to take control of Soszynski's back, then he should do it.

Then again, Soszynski has probably prepared himself for a situation of this caliber and will be looking to neutralize it.

We won't know too much about who holds the advantage on the ground until we see this fight hit the ground.

 

Experience

The difference between Krzystof Soszynski and Stephan Bonnar is seventeen fights, counting their UFC 110 encounter.

The season one runner-up is one year the elder of the season eight semifinalist, but Soszynski appears to be the more seasoned veteran in this instance.

What this tells me is that there may not be anything Bonnar can do that Soszynski hasn't had thrown in front of him.

Bonnar is going to have to be pretty much on-the-dot with about everything he does. One little mistake, and Soszynski is going to make Bonnar pay dearly.

The Verdict

The last fight was pretty aggressive up until the accidental headbutt. My estimation is that the second fight tonight will be no different, but there will be no controversial decision.

Bonnar will have to fight a smart fight against Soszynski, or else the improbable will happen: Stephan Bonnar could very well be released from the UFC.

I'm going to back Soszynski for this fight, but there is such a thing as "rebounding with your back against the wall".

No example could prove more true than Stephan Bonnar in this fight.

I've stated before that I don't think Bonnar would ever get cut from the UFC, but if Soszynski beats him, it could happen.

Hey, it happened with Keith Jardine.

The two could exchange very hotly in the first round, and if so, that's where a winner could be decided before the fight is even finished.

Maybe that's where Bonnar takes the "W". Soszynski is my personal pick, but where I don't see a muscle gain for Bonnar, I do see Bonnar showing some hunger for retribution.

Prediction: Bonnar by TKO, probably in the first two rounds.

This will be the last piece I'm putting up before the event, as I'm too excited for the card to conceive a separate Lesnar-Carwin opinion or a Lytle-Brown opinion.

If you aren't watching UFC 116 tonight, try to shuffle some stuff around and see it by ordering it via your cable provider or catching the webcast on UFC.com

Even with a change in the co-main event, this fight card, the first of three summer blockbusters, promises to be the fight card of the summer in Mixed Martial Arts.

Still don't think so?

Check it out for yourself.

 

Dale De Souza is a contributor to Bleacher Report MMA. The De Souza Special is merely a reflection of Dale's opinion and is in no way a reflection of the opinions of any member of the Bleacher Report Community or the global community of Mixed Martial Arts.

Thanks to Dana White, The Fertita Brothers, Joe Silva and the UFC for this awesome card.

Want to submit an opinion to me or just want to talk about the sport? Follow me on Twitter.

Also, check out Dale's other takes on the event:

Pellegrino-Sotiropoulos

Akiyama-Leben

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