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Fact or Crap: Chael Sonnen Actually has a Chance to Win This Thing

("All that punching and kicking is fine for some people. It just seems a little showy for my tastes." PicProps:

In some ways, you’ve really got to hand it to Chael Sonnen. Not only has the relentless torrent of bullshit that has spewed from his mouth during the last few months done a remarkable job rekindling the public’s interest in Anderson Silva, but it’s also distracted just about everybody from asking the one question that really matters about tonight’s UFC 117 main event: Does Sonnen have a chance in hell to actually win?

Answer: Yes, but he’s going to have to play it perfectly.

Given the sheer amount of nonsensical yell-talking Sonnen’s done prior to this bout, it would be a fool’s errand to go back and try to ferret out exactly how he’s prepared himself for the biggest fight of his life. He said earlier this week that he hadn’t yet watched any tape on Silva, said previously that he had “a strategy that’s never been beaten” in store for the champ and implied that he plans to simply will himself through Silva’s murderous striking attacks using toughness and rough-hewn country pride.

Of course, we have to assume all of that is lies.

Sonnen may well be out of his mind, but he’s not stupid. He knows if he spends more than 30 seconds on his feet exchanging punches with Silva, the fight’s over. He knows if he gets stuck in the clinch accepting knees to the grille, the fight’s over. He damned sure knows if he gets careless or tired or just a little bit sloppy … yeah, the fight’s over. Better than anyone else, Sonnen knows that his only chance to win this fight is to keep “The Spider” off his feet as much as possible. In fact, when Sonnen recently announced his intention to come out and “put Anderson on his prissy ass” with wrestling, it might’ve been the only true thing to come out of his mouth during the last six weeks.

The good news for Sonnen is that historically he’s been pretty good at forcing his opponents to play that game. When Sonnen loses fights, its typically by submission from the top – dude still acts like he’s never even heard of an arm bar –  and despite that vaunted Nogueira black belt we’re always hearing about, Silva’s only tapped one guy with an actual submission hold in his entire career. That means that maybe, just maybe, if Sonnen can put Silva on his back and rough him up the same way he did Nate Marquardt in his last UFC fight, he has a glimmer of hope.

For his own sake, let’s hope training partner Matt Lindland sat Sonnen down and forced him to watch the first round of Dan Henderson’s fight with Silva at UFC 82 a couple hundred times. The one thing Hendo did right in that bout in March of 2008 was that he used the champion’s customary feeling-out period at the opening of the first to pressure Silva just enough to allow for a takedown before “The Spider”  kicked things into high gear. Henderson won that first round, during which Silva did little more than hang on from half-guard and then lock up a defensive body triangle to keep Henderson from posturing up after the champ scrambled to full guard inside the last minute. Result: 10-9 Hendo.

In the second an emboldened Henderson tried to slug a bit too much with Silva and paid for it in short order. Let’s hope Lindland told Sonnen there was no second round, that both Henderson and Silva decided to call it good and just went home after the first, because in order to win tonight, Sonnen needs to repeat Hendo’s first round performance and ignore what he did in the second.

Can he do it? Maybe. Can he do it five times? Well, odds makers and gamblers sure don’t think so. After opening as a flat 3-1 underdog, betting websites now list the Oregon wrestler at anywhere from +325 to +380. has a straight bet on Silva going off at -500. That certainly does not inspire confidence.

But the truth is, we’ve never seen what happens when someone is able to take Silva down and pound on him for three or four rounds. We have no idea how he might respond to that and Sonnen is the first guy in Silva’s last five trips to the Octagon who has a real chance to implement that strategy.  Are we ready to start talking about the great and terrible possibilities of a Chael Sonnen title reign? Hardly. But if he comes out and fights smart tonight, he has an opportunity to at least make things interesting.


  1. steampunk22 Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:04

    Good summary. Pretty much agree with everything. Sonnen's only hope is pressure, right out the gate, and to not give Silva his customary "wait and watch" minute.
  2. WalksInTheDarkness Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:07

    But didn't Damian Maia have a chance of actually beating Anderson too? If Chael could do more than lay down elbows and punches from the top then I'd be worried about Anderson but as his submission defence is poor and Sonnen's ability to submit Anderson from the guard I just don't see it happening. One of the reason that Silva is the number one middle weight is because he is the most complete package in that division. He can finish on his feet, he can finish on his back, he can finish on top and none of his last couple of opponents can claim that. Sonnen has real problems with finishing his fights which is a real problem for a grinder especially over five 5 minute rounds. Sonnen looked exhausted after having gone 3 rounds with Marquardt. Finally, if Chael's hoping to beat Silva by decision he'd better remember that every round restarts with both fighters on their feet so he'll have to take the Spider down at least five times without Anderson countering him with a punch or knee on the way down.
  3. KimboSlice Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:09

  4. Joedirt Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:24

    I hate silva. Silva vs Toney would be epic.
  5. Sabado Gigante Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:27

    I noticed that when Sonnen was in Marquart's guard, Marquart was playing more striking defense than anything else which abviously wasn't working. Sonnen was going to town on Nate while it seemed like Nate was kind of forgetting about his black belt... The winding moments of the fight saw Nate attempting a few subs which actually was serving as a better defensive strategy than moments before. I wonder if Silva's plan is to work submissions if he is in a defensive full guard, because Chael is kinda sorta submission prone... Also, if you're defending against a submission, you're more than likely not punching anyone in the face... Either way, I wouldn't mind Silva dancing around for 4 rounds, and then going fucking psycho in the 5th round... That would actually be kinda cool
  6. 2DaDeath Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:29

    And in other news... It is no longer a rumor, but now a fact: Aleks E. has hep c, as reported by some other mma website.
  7. nickyroose Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:30

    Hate the game not the player.
  8. munche Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:41

    @WalksInTheDarkness: The big difference between Maia and Sonnen is that Sonnen actually has the ability to dictate where the fight takes place. Maia was hoping Anderson would CHOOSE to go to the ground, Sonnen is going to put him on his ass. Win or lose, I see Sonnen doing a fairly good job in this fight. I think a submission is more likely than an Anderson KO
  9. nickyroose Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:43

  10. k-onda Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:44

    I think that first part was absolutely correct, does he have a chance? "Yeah, but..." I think Chael could get himself into trouble in more ways than he could win it. He could get cocky (he has been laying the pressure on himself), He could get too aggressive and forget about sub defense, He could try to "feel out" the Spider" on his feet, He could loose a very mundane decision to a guy who's simply a better dancer/boxer. Anyway, the "could be's" are myriad, lets see the damn fight already!
  11. Sjsurf Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:46

    where the fuck is his belly button?
  12. Loretta Cunt Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:47

    ummmm... anderson has two submission victories! tighten up cp. hendo and lutter. rear naked and triangle "and despite that vaunted Nogueira black belt we’re always hearing about, Silva’s only tapped one guy with an actual submission hold in his entire career." damn the quality of writing is falling faster than interest in a jake shields fight
  13. Dick_Gozenya Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:50

    Well Dundas, I gotta agree with your synopsis, Sonnen doesn't have a big chance but it is a fight and he is a fighter, so he certainly has some kind of chance. I also have to hand it to Sonnen with his non-stop hype machine, as sick as I am of listening to it he has sold this fight into at least a couple hundred thousand more TV's. Hopefully he gets cut in on PPV and makes dragging his reputation through the mud worth it for him.
  14. ThrashingMad Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:56

    i don't know why people are saying he has to do this for 5 rounds. He only needs to do it for 3 and then avoid getting finished or Silva getting any 10-8 rounds.
  15. Chute Box Bad Boy Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 11:57

    I really don't see sonnen winning this fight but crazy shit happens in mma.Just look at The Last Emperor.
  16. Dick_Gozenya Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 12:01

    @ TubeOfDeath Now he is going to have to fight all of his opponents with his Jedi mind powers and chi hadukens.
  17. mt59801 Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 12:06

    For all the shit talking he's done, I'm guessing he's going to grind him out Jake Sheilds"hump a leg" style, with a dash of Jackson's camp lay n pray. Sadly it might work, I don't think it has to be a one sided beating, just sticking the spider to the mat and tapping on him for 3-4 rounds might get him the decision.
  18. 2DaDeath Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 12:11

    If Sonnen wins it would be a bigger upset than Werdum beating Fedor, imo.
  19. MF Joel Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 12:19

    I guess you could make the argument that the Lutter sub was from elbows? But...yeah.
  20. ghostboner Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 12:36

    I was gonna say the same about the Lutter sub, but now that I think of it I'm not sure Lutter tapped. Could have been ref stoppage? Also, Chael's strategy of rushing Anderson plays well because that is almost the only time you will see ANderson actually strike is when someone is chasing him. Chaels only chance could also be just what ANderson wants.
  21. Omelette Platter Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 01:08

    the lutter fight was submission due to strikes; he was taking heavy elbows while caught in a triangle, but he defended the choke/armbar pretty well...with his face.
  22. Bob Reilly Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 01:11

    I wanna see anderson pull off some shit like he did vs rich and leben. Man its been a while.
  23. Jubbie Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 01:13

    I don't expect him to shoot aggressively early because he'd probably get forrested in the first round. I expect a drawn out clinch hugfest until he gets a takedown to hopefully neutralize the jedi trickery. I really hope Sonnen wins even if it's a super gay and boring lay and pray session (obviously hope he rocks him out though). A loss forces Silva to actually fight hungry again if he wants his title back.
  24. ccman Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 01:38

    I think to many people are writing this one off way to early. Chaels mouth is getting to be a bit much but you also have to put the hype filters on it, and he is not really that over the top in what he is saying. nutshell, Silva is a prima dona, does not like to engage, hates being on the ground, and has fought only people recently who are afraid of him, andwho want to be on the ground but have no skills to put people there. Sonnen like to put people on the ground, likes to work once there, favors pounding to submissions, and is not afraid of Silva at all. Mix in some funny 'like a whore with a mortgage' type things a complete disdain for Silvas management and thats the whole story. I think a wrestler who is not afraid of Silva and hasn't gotten one dimensional (EX: hendos big right, forgot how he used to win fights) who can also keep the ego in check to not deviate from the game plan (Ex: Edgar, though I agree with some that he did not win, but definetly kept to his plan, also Mir vs Big Nog) and it just might be what wins this.... and he seems to accept he will get hit a few times implimenting this.
  25. Dick_Gozenya Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 01:51

    I don't see Chael winning this but he's proven me wrong before so I'm gonna kick back and hope for a brutal beat down one way or the other. I hope the Spider shows up pissed and adds another matrix moment to his highlight reel.
  26. Organ Donor Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:00

    Chael is boring like Jake Shields
  27. Almost North Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:07

    Ehh time for talk is over. Sit back and enjoy the blood boys.
  28. DARKHORSE06 Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:10

    I was rooting for Chael right up until I noticed he waxed his chest. Unless he had some sort of swimming time trial in the last few days, he just lost my support. Shaving your body is a very Democratic move and I have to question his Republican-ness. Silve wins by knock out round 1.
  29. DARKHORSE06 Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:14

    SILVA wins by knockout round 1.
  30. Loretta Cunt Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:16

    the lutter submission was from the triangle. the dude was purple from the choke. elbows to the top of the head didn't cause a tap. top of the head is the hardest part of the body (though the heel is the hardest bone). lutter was going to sleep! but like most of the mma community to cp sherdog is god and they list it as tap due to strikes.
  31. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:35

    @ Almost, exactly my friend, the last few weeks count for shit once (hopefully) Herb Dean tells em to "get it on " And I pray to the gods of MMA we got a five round blockbuster that at the end of the fight, has all rushing to our keyboards to type " Holy shit what a fucken awesome fight"
  32. Almost North Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:46

    yes I hope I can type something equally as insane as "Holy shit who knew Chael had knockout power in his crescent kick?"
  33. Almost North Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 02:49

    I'm not sure if chest shaving is so out of line for a republican politician, seeing how many of them turn out secretly gay.
  34. BackbaconBilly Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 03:26

    Impossible for Chael to win... Silva by " Seagal neck snap"
  35. Sabado Gigante Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 03:29

    I want a vuvuzela with a UFC logo...
  36. ghostboner Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 03:33

    Did someone question Chael's Republicanness? Is Wayne Sonnen gonna hafta choke a bitch? If Anderson wins tonight he is officially the god of mma. Think of the trend recently, all the guys who looked invincible...Fedor, B.J., Lyoto. Fedor and B.J. fighting guys who they were expected to utterly destroy. If Anderson can break the curse he will have eclipsed Fedor, imo. And I hope that tomorrow in my stupor I can type "Hooo damn I had no idea that Steven Segal was actually training Chael, in TKD, and he was sent to Black House to spy! I didn't think Republicans did scorpion kicks!"
  37. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 03:53

    I just wanna be able to type" Well that makes Big Roy the number one HW contender after his complete destruction of two saints" but I'm not holding my breath
  38. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 03:55

    But the thing I most wanna type is " Woohoo, Boner, BG just sent out our press accreditation for UFC down under, and your plane tickets are on the way"
  39. LAS Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 03:57

    Is everyone here claiming that Chael has a chance in this fight forgetting the way he got ragdolled by Maia, the same guy who couldn't get a whiff of a takedown against A. Silva? Fucking lunacy.
  40. Eyes red as Fedor Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:02

    I prefer getting my MMAnalysis from the same place I get my peroxide and guns: Dally Winston. Has anyone else seen the videos of Chael sparring where he keeps trying a spinning backfist but its horribly telegraphed and terribly inaccurate? My pick is Ando by knockout when Chael brings that trash.
  41. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:06

    @ LAS, I think there's a few of us who have begrudgingly conceded, that yes, in any 2 person contest both have a chance, and you never know what might happen in the Octagon, but reallistically, gimme a break, if everything goes according to form, Andersons gonna humiliate Sonnenn one way or another, and take out a pretty straightforward victory, after which, all we will hear from Sonnoen is blissful silence
  42. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:09

    @ eyesredasfedor, I'll meet you at the abandoned Church at Windrixville and pick up some guns for myself,
  43. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:12

    Just like to amend a previous post, the thing I would really most like to type is " Woohoo, just got out of the hot tub with Arrianny and Gina Carano, and they've said I've gotta stay with em and keep satisfying their every sexual need for at least another week" Yea, I sure would like that.
  44. Videodrome_NOW Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:43

    @fatbelly Gina Carano was caught snortin coke of Cyborg's penis. Sorry, mate.... Or hooray if you're into that sort of thing.
  45. Videodrome_NOW Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:44

    Oh yeah,... go Chael.
  46. dogpt3 Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 04:47

    Chael probablly would of had a chance had he kept his mouth shut but based on the look of anger in Silvas eyes during the weigh ins and press conference that chance is now slim to none. The only real question is does he finish him immediately or does he make him suffer 5 rounds and see just how much punishment this guy can take. When your game plan is to walk through Silvas punches and take him down, well, ask Leben about how that worked. Can't wait to read all the comments from people who were hating on Silva a few months ago.
  47. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 05:19

    @ Videodrome, so could we assume she'd snort coke of my penis ? if so , that would make it OK
  48. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 05:29

    @ dogpt, I was pretty critical of Mr Bojangles after the Abu Dhabi shitfight, I still have my suspicions about the fix from that one, but its history and I got no proof so I'll just shut up on that one. I don't beleive IMO that Sonnen is any chance here today, I hope Anderson struts his stuff big time, and doesn't carry on with the BS he did in Abu Dhabi. Sonnen has proved he can shit talk with the best(worst?) of em, hoo fucken ra, but thats prolly just the politician in him, those cunts never shut up, but they never say anything worthwhile, which IMO is exactly what Sonnen has done in the lead in to fight, prolly pulled in some extra casual fans to see what all the jibba jabba is about. If the two fighters fight to 100% of their respective abilities, Sonnen is gonna get prison raped, no doubt about that. We'll see what we see
  49. rearnakedchickenchoke Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 10:09

  50. Loretta Cunt Says:

    Sat, 08/07/10 - 10:20

    so was the sonnen tap from elbows as well?
  51. ghostboner Says:

    Sun, 08/08/10 - 02:05

    Well FBF? Pres cred in in the bag? Plane fare in the mail? Females in the tub? Anything.
  52. fatbellyfrank Says:

    Sun, 08/08/10 - 10:31

    Nothing yet Boner, but we've still got plenty of time
  53. Chicken Recipes For Dinner Says:

    Fri, 12/23/11 - 04:15

    Sources…... [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……...

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