23 Jul 2010 13:24:41 PM
In hyping UFC 117′s main event, the UFC is doing their best to convince fans that Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen won’t be as painful to watch as Silva’s last three middleweight title defenses against Demian Maia, Thales Leites, and Patrick Cote. Sonnen has the perfect style to beat Silva (so the story goes) and Chael’s outlandish trash talk might even inspire the champion to actually handle his business in the cage for a change. Do you buy it? I’m not quite convinced yet — personally, I think all the factors that made Silva’s fight against Maia so awful are also present in the Sonnen matchup — but in the interest of fairness, I figured I’d lay out both sides of the argument. First, why Silva vs. Sonnen will be another infuriating bust…
1. Silva Will Want to Avoid the Mat at All Costs
From a technical perspective, what made Silva’s fights against Demian Maia and Thales Leites so dull? Silva understood that those fighters posed their only threats on the ground, and he simply refused to allow the fights to go in that direction, which is something you can get away with when you’re a genius on your feet. Silva can’t be baited into going to the mat if he doesn’t want to, and he won’t full-out brawl with a grappler, and run the risk of getting grabbed and taken down. So he keeps his distance, landing a punch to the knee once in a while just to keep himself entertained. As a wrestler, Chael Sonnen’s attack is a little different — he wants to be on top and grind you down — but winning fights still means landing a takedown and turning the action horizontal, and Silva knows that. So if you’re expecting a firefight between these two, keep dreaming. It’ll be another stick-and-move-and-move-and-move-and-move-and-move exhibition from the champ.