Silva vs. Sonnen: The Saga Continues…
After last weekend’s UFC event and Sonnen’s colourful post-fight interview, I think a question on a lot of people’s minds is whether or not Sonnen actually has a legitimate shot at beating the champ… or if he will have to leave the UFC forever, as he claimed.
Personally, I am on the fence about this one – but, I do give Silva a slight advantage. Sonnen clearly dominated Silva in their first meet – and, as the whole MMA world saw (with jaws gaping) Silva submitted Sonnen at the final frame of their match. This would leave many to believe that Sonnen has all the tools needed to defeat Silva, he just needs to be more careful and practice his submission defence.
However, part of me still thinks that there was something awry with Silva. He didn’t quite seem to be himself in the fight, and granted he was on his back for a large portion of it, even seeing him on his feet and get knocked down was new for us. Silva claims that his performance was due to a back injury. I suppose I believe the back injury story, but whether I think that it’s the only explanation for Sonnen’s apparent domination last time is a different story.
On the other side of things, the few times Silva has faced wrestlers, they have posed significant problems for him. Granted, the only top tier wrestlers that Silva has ever faced have been Sonnen and Henderson – but, both wrestlers created a headache for the champ. Henderson clearly won the first round in their tussle so long ago, and I think we’ve already covered Sonnen’s performance. Part of the reason may be the takedown. While Silva has faced plenty of jiujitsu fighters, typically fighters with a game focused on BJJ have not been very strong take down artists. Fighters with a strong wrestling base have typically been the more successful fighters when it comes to takedowns – and not only takedowns, but control and strength when it gets to the ground. Look at the current roster of champs and I think the argument for the importance and advantage of a strong wrestling base becomes clear (Velasquez, Jones, St. Pierre, Edgar). Silva’s achilles heel could very well wrestlers and the takedown.
So, do I think Sonnen will win a re-match? Probably not. Silva looked pensive in their first fight, as I contest this was due to an injury. The Silva that we’ve seen in the ring as of late has been the one that exhibited a “ballet of violence” (as Joe Rogan put it) in his early fights. Sonnen has a solid chin – but, some people say Forrest does too, and a fade away jab from the champ put him away. Hopefully, we see this fight in January and I am proven right, but very few things in MMA are very certain…
… except for two:
1) The build up to this fight is going to be fun to watch – Sonnen is such a great trash talker, and I can’t wait to see what he pulls out of his bag of tricks for this one.
2) If this fight is in Brazil (as it has been rumoured), Sonnen loses either way: either he loses the fight and has to leave the UFC; or he wins the fight and is murdered while leaving the ring by an angry Brazillian mob.
… and that is the last word.