|OS Real Time|
|Mark Forums Read|
|Edit Your Details|
Fight Week! - Two YearsPosted on July 6, 2012 at 10:13 AM.
We are finally here. One day away from the most anticipated rematch in UFC history. This isn’t hype. I’ve seen them all. Couture/Liddell 2 and 3, Liddell/Ortiz 2, Lesnar/Mir 2…none of them equal the anticipation and buzz Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen 2 is drawing. As I sit here writing this blog, I have no idea how this fight will go and this is completely different than how I felt in August 2010 before UFC 117.
I love trash talkers. I find it hilarious when fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Sonnen make ridiculous statements about their opponents. I know that they are just using it to hype the fight (no matter how much they claim that’s not true) but it doesn’t change how much I love it. The talk started at the UFC 115 Q&A when he clowned the Noguiera brothers and told the world he would take Silva down. The talk continued at the UFC 117 press conference. I love that press conference not because of what Sonnen says but watching Dana White and Thiago Alves trying to hold in their laughter. So even though I was 100% sure Silva was going to destroy Sonnen once they entered the Octagon, I was cheering for Sonnen based on the strength of his trash talk.
Then the fight started……and Sonnen rocked him in Round 1. Then Sonnen ground and pounded Silva in rounds 2 through 4. Then Sonnen rocked Silva again at the beginning round 5 and was dominating him throughout the round.
I don’t remember much about watching the fight the first time but I remember this: I was dumbfounded. I stood in my office for 4 rounds with my jaw on the floor. See, I’ve watched every Silva fight in the UFC and witnessed his dominance. I was in Philadelphia when he dominated Forrest Griffin and made a former Light Heavyweight run from the Octagon after a fight. I remember turning to my friend Matt and simply said “Wow!” and being speechless for the next 5 minutes. So I couldn’t believe that the guy I’d see dominant the UFC for 4 years was getting destroyed by a wrestler with limited striking.
Then came the triangle choke.
Just like that, Silva pulled out one of the most amazing comebacks in UFC history. Just like everyone else, I wanted an immediate rematch. I wanted to see if this was a fluke? Were Silva’s ribs really injured? Is a wrestling Sliva’s kryptonite or was it just an off night for Silva? Who would’ve known that it would take almost 2 years to find out the answers to these questions?
We’ve been through it all with these two over the past two years. The time off because of the rib injury. Sonnen’s TRT suspension. The front kick to the face on Vitor Belfort. Sonnen’s felony conviction. Silva domination of Yushin Okami in Rio. Sonnen’s triumphant return against Stann. The “loser leaves home” stipulation. Sonnen’s close decision over Bisping. Silva’s press conference explosion. The staredown that almost turned into a brawl. All of these events and I still have no idea who will win.
So what I did was re-watched the first fight, Silva’s last fight against Okami and the Dan Henderson/Silva fight (Silva’s last fight against a Olympic level wrestler) and I took away a few things:
1) Something wasn’t right with Silva – I’m not willing to completely believe the broken rib (or bruised ribs depending on who in Silva’s camp is telling the story) excuse but he clearly wasn’t 100%. At several times, during the fight you see Silva clutching his side at the end of rounds. There also was a clear lack of upper body movement when countering against Sonnen’s strikes. With that said, I’ve known people with broken ribs and they would not have been capable of moving as much as Silva did when Sonnen had him on the ground. Verdict: Silva wasn’t 100% but I don’t think his ribs were broken.
2) Sometimes its good to have only one elite skill - When Silva fought Henderson, he fought someone who had the same wrestling skill level as Sonnen but who was a better striker than Sonnen was. Henderson was (and still is) in love with his overhand right hook. Henderson was coming off of knocking Wanderlei Silva out with that punch (the same punch he would later KO Michael Bisping. Feijao Calvacante and Fedor with). He was constantly looking for it during the two round fight and never really committed to wrestling Silva. (even though he did get one takedown towards the end of the first).
Chael knows he can’t strike with Silva. He’s ok with that. The thing is Chael doesn’t think Silva can KO him. So he uses his basic boxing skills and forward movement to get close to Silva for a clinch or to attempt a takedown. Okami tried this approach in Silva’s last fight but it was clear he was afraid of Silva’s power and refused to press forward. Sonnen isn’t afraid. He’s never been KO’d (lost two fights because of cuts) and will take Silva’s strikes in order to close the distance.
Sonnen’s wrestling also limits the amounts of kicks thrown by Silva. Silva loves to keep distance and toy with an opponent by throwing leg and body kicks. You can’t do that when you are afraid your opponent will catch one and proceed to take you down. This turns Silva into a boxer and limits one of Silva’s best weapons.
3) Anger isn’t always good – I’ve read multiple accounts from the MMA media and many fans that stated that Silva’s angry reactions on the phone conference call and during Tuesday’s staredown is proof that Silva is “locked in.” My reaction is that being angry is the worst thing he can be. Silva isn’t a bezerker like Wanderlei Silva or Shogun Rua. He doesn’t walk through opponents at the start of a fight. He is a counter striker. He fights the same way in every fight and it doesn’t matter who’s in front of him.
Silva takes the first two to three minutes to feel out his opponent. He doesn’t engage and he sometimes doesn’t through a meaningful strike until halfway through the round (He waited until 3 minutes in to engage Belfort, Griffin and Irvin). After the first three minutes, he looks to counter and picks up the pace. Its disarming for an opponent to fight at a relaxed pace for 2-3 minutes and then have Silva push forward with feints, kicks and punches.
If Silva is truly angry, he may try to come forward at the start of the fight, which is a horrible idea. Sonnen wants contact. He doesn’t mind if Silva wants to swing aggressively because it leaves him open for a takedown. He doesn’t care if Silva attempts to use the Muai Thai clinch because that shortens the distance between them and again could lead to a takedown.
With that said, one of the rules of making a fight prediction is always pick the guy who can win the most ways. I can see Silva winning by decision (counter striking and keeping his distance), KO (by Cuts – Sonnen’s face was badly hurt during 117) or Submission (same as 117). I can only see Sonnen winning by decision. He landed over 300 strikes in the first fight and didn’t cut or bruise Silva. His submission game is improving but does anyone actually see him submitting Silva? Due to those factors:
Anderson Silva by 4th round KO.
Fight Week Predictions:
• Forrest Griffin v. Tito Ortiz 3 – I actually had Griffin winning the past two fights so I see no reason why he would lose the third. Legends typically don’t go out on a high note. I expect this trend to continue. Griffin by decision.
• Patrick Cote v. Cung Le – I always lean toward the hungrier guy and in this case its Cote. Le is 40 years old with one foot in Hollywood. Cote is a guy who fought his way back in the UFC and is simply a cage fighter. I also think Le has lost a step based on his last three fights (1-2). Cote by third TKO.
• Demian Maia v. Dong Hyun Kim – Maia is the anti-Sonnen. He does one thing really well (BJJ) but has decided to become a striker even though he has never shown any KO power. If Maia goes back to his roots and looks for submissions this should be an easy night. If he tries to be a striker, he will put another mark in the loss column – Maia by 2nd rnd submission.
Thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday’s blog. I wanted to respond to this comment left by majesty95:
“So does the insurance cover just medical expenses or just it have a disability aspect? Even if the doctor bills are covered, pulling out of a fight still costs the fighter since they will not get their show purse and any additional money they would/could have received.
I think the biggest issue is the number of events. The total number of events has more than doubled the past few years and because they fighters are getting spread more thinly, you are seeing more injuries and card changes. Probably saw half as many injuries when their were half as many events.
I also think the competition is a big reason. Fighters are trying harder than ever to crack into the UFC and grab onto the fame and fortune that being a top level fighter earns you. Because of that more and more fighters are over training and pushing themselves to get better and, in turn, hurting themselves worse”
Good points but I disagree that the number of events are the issue though. One, the UFC has almost doubled the number of fighters in its organization since 2009. They have added three new weight classes. If anything, fighters in the past were being spread thin. Take Michael Bisping for example. From April 2008 to October 2008, he fought three times. He had to because the UFC had 2 cards and England during that time and needed its biggest UK fighter to headline the events. With the exception of Donald Cerrone, we never see that anymore.
The expectation is that a fighter will fight three times a year. Look at the current champions: JDS will probably fight twice (2nd fight against Cain Velasquez in Sept/Oct), Silva twice, GSP once, Aldo twice and Cruz zero. All of them with injuries occurring outside the octagon. Jon Jones and Ben Henderson may be the only ones who reach three fights this year. In my opinion, its not that they are been spread thin. Its that they aren’t doing enough to protect themselves during training.
I’ll be back next week to discuss UFC 148 and UFC on Fuel 4. If you have a comment about the blog, post below or tweet me at @aholbert32
BORN: September 25, 1977 (35)
JOINED: Jul 18, 2002 (10 years, 339 days ago)
MEMBER # 83
JOINED: Jul 18, 2002 (10 years, 339 days ago)
MEMBER # 83
19,165 Forum Posts
4.80 Posts Per Day
8 Blog Entries
839 News/Blog Comments
0 Reader Score Votes
25 Chalkboard Messages
31,516 Arena Visits
aholbert32's Blog Categories
aholbert32's Xbox 360 Gamercard
aholbert32's Screenshots (0)
aholbert32 does not have any albums to display.
More aholbert32's Friends