UFC 136 Results: 5 Reasons Chael Sonnen Will Beat Anderson Silva This Time
As has been well-documented in the MMA community, Chael Sonnen is the only fighter who has given UFC middleweight champion any problems a midst his 15 fight win streak in the UFC.
Sonnen's boxing, takedowns and ground and pound convincingly won him four rounds on the judges score cards before getting submitted in the fifth and final round with a triangle choke.
After a dominant performance against Brian Stann at UFC 136, it seems to be a forgone conclusion that Silva-Sonnen II will happen in early 2012.
There were a couple of questions surrounding the first fight, such as how healthy was Anderson Silva coming in?
Was Chael Sonnen illegally using performance enhancing drugs, or was the matter simply an issue of disclosure?
Despite these issues, here are a few reasons why Sonnen will get his revenge and finally make good on all of his trash talk the second time around.
Improved Jiu Jitsu
Photo by Tracy Lee for Yahoo Sports
Against Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen finally decided to go outside his comfort zone and embrace some jiu jitsu in addition to his usual top pressure and ground and pound once the fight hit the mat.
Sonnen used a number of guard passes against Stann and eventually locked up an arm triangle to end the fight via submission.
Training with his friend Jake Shields over at Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu in California has no doubt paid big dividends, even if Brian Stann is no extraordinary submission specialist.
Rounding his game out from a wrestler to an all around grappler makes Sonnen a much more dangerous fighter, but it is also major since submission defense has always been his achilles heel in the past.
By embracing jiu jitsu in both his training and the way he executes in the cage, Sonnen is effectively filling up the biggest hole in his game.
No one knows the accompanying image better than Chael Sonnen. At this point in the fight, it was beyond reasonable to think Uncle Chael was walking out of the Octagon with the middleweight title around his waist.
Unfortunately, his poor submission defense reared its ugly head again, and Sonnen was put in the dreaded tap out or pass out situation.
In both his interviews and training videos since then, it seems very clear that the Team Quest stand out is determined to show that the first time was more luck than skill for Silva.
While it is unrealistic to make an assessment of a fighter based on one performance, the Chael Sonnen we saw against Brian Stann was the best version of Sonnen we have ever seen.
Since this one is personal, expect Sonnen to look just as prepared when he meets "The Spider" again.
His Career Is on the Line
Photo courtesy of MMA junkie
This ties in with the previous slide, bu expect Chael Sonnen to push the limits even harder when he puts his UFC contract on the line when he gets his rematch against Silva.
Sonnen said if he loses to Silva for a second time, he will never fight in the UFC again.
At 34 years old with 38 professional bouts under his belts, that is just as good as saying he will retire as a fighter.
Being the middleweight title holder in Strikeforce, Bellator, or BAMMA seem like very achievable goals for Sonnen, but given his cocky and outlandish attitude, the last thing the former two-time Division I All-American wrestler would want is a step down in competition.
The self-proclaimed American gangster from Oregon still seems like he has some good fights left in him, so he will certainly not lay down for Anderson Silva when the two cross paths again.
There Will Be No Trilogy with Silva
The other stipulation Sonnen asked for in his rematch with Silva is that if he wins, Silva will no longer be able to compete at middleweight in the UFC.
This would be massive for Sonnen since it would mean two things: 1. his dominance in the first fight was no fluke and 2. he will not have to prove himself against Silva again.
Obviously, there is no fighter at 185-pounds, or perhaps in all of MMA, with a more impressive resume than Anderson Silva, so eliminating him from the division completely certainly would make life for a lot of guys easier.
That includes Sonnen, so this will only add to his already very high level of motivation.
Styles Make Fights
Anderson Silva is no doubt an exceptionally talented fighter, but Chael Sonnen is one of the very few people that actually match up well with him.
The UFC's middleweight division is filled with highly touted strikers, but none of them stand a chance on the feet against "Andy," as Chael sometimes refers to him as.
However, Sonnen is one of the best wrestlers in MMA, the one area where Silva is lacking. He also sets a very aggressive and violent pace that is difficult to keep up with; Silva has had the benefit of some of his opponents looking very tentative against him, allowing The Spider to feels things out and set the pace.
Finally, Sonnen has never been legitimately knocked out in his career, so if he continues to diligently work on his submission defense leading up to this fight, he will have all the necessary tools to put down his arch nemesis once and for all.