Silva Vs. Sonnen: Game, Set, Rematch?
Just days after UFC 117, or what could have been billed as "So You Think You Can Win?" and there are already two prominent outcries; Immediate Rematch and Why an immediate rematch?
Many who do not want to see Silva vs. Sonnen II, feel that he may have put in a rare, once in a lifetime performance tantamount to the alignment of the planets. Others, however, see this last UFC middleweight bout as a blueprint for how to beat Anderson Silva.
Ironically to me, a great example of this "blueprint" mentality surrounded one of Anderson's favorite fighters not too many years ago, the legendary boxing phenomenon, Roy Jones Jr.
As it was for Roy Jones when he first looked human and beatable, the sport's fans suddenly knew all along, "THAT is how you beat him" despite others having already tried that plan, unsuccessful in even getting it off the starting line.
So it is probably a good idea to look at this type of blueprint for beating Silva the same way it was best seen for Jones...like the schematics of the Great Pyramid. Would you expect that almost any builder or architect could pull off such an amazing feat just by being told how? I'd say not.
Sonnen, however, may be able to do it again, and a rematch is the only way to know for sure. I can conceive of his doing it again. It's not like he'd suddenly become heartless and fearful. He got caught, not beat up, so really there would be no reason he'd step into a rematch iffy about his chances.
But make no mistake about it, in all likelihood the lightning, one could argue, possibly caught in a bottle that night was not by Sonnen but by Silva, who was literally three minutes from needing to figure out how he'd be holding up his pants going forward.
It is my belief that anytime you have a shocker like that, a Rocky-like against the odds, almost pulls it off, scenario, that we ought to see it again. And if MMA has taught us anything you really never know what a rematch will bring.
Remember Josh Thompson vs. Gilbert Melendez I? It didn't leave any desire to see a rematch at all, yet the second bout was nothing like the one-sided first fight, and the Strikeforce lightweight title changed hands in favor of Melendez that time.
In combat sports and its matchmaking there are no guarantees. But at the least, when all is said and done, let it have made sense to arrange the rematch despite its ending in a dud should that be the case, versus letting a fight that ended with questions looming, slip away.
The reason many see an immediate rematch as being crucial, is so no other outside factors can sway the situation before these men meet again. Imagine Chael getting KO'd by another 185 lb fighter or Silva losing decisively in his next fight.
It makes the rematch, whenever it happend, a little or a lot less compelling - AND - it may make one of the fighters involved appear to have reached that "he's never been the same" initiation point. If the fans see either fighter in that light, then the rematch will never be worthwhile.
A great example of a rematch too far gone can once again, be provided by Silva's pal Roy Jones Jr.
Roy Jones vs. Bernard Hopkins I, happened in 1994, where Jones beat him one-handed (his right was broken going into it). Both men were at the onset of or in their prime. The thought and potential payday these two could generate was staggering. So, when did two of our era's best middleweight and light-heavyweight fighters rematch?
2009-2010! (And yes I am iffy here because I didn't pay much attention to it and I am a huge Roy Jones fan). I had stopped caring to see what might happen when they clashed again. It made as much sense to me as a sequel to the film "JFK".
By the time these two mixed it up again, Bernard was up and down in major bouts and Roy had been beaten by guys who never had a shot to win a round from him in his 11 year, dominant reign.
So, let us learn from boxing in this scenario and allow the fighters who bring out in each other, what no one before them could, go at it again.
I kind of like this Penn vs Edgar II, Machida vs. Shogun II and then Silva vs. Sonnen II Era - Boxing made a lot of its drama building history with rematches and trilogies.
Maybe MMA is doing the same with some top level athletes of its own.
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