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Three Reasons Why Silva vs. Sonnen Will Suck (And Three Reasons Why It Might Not)

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.

2. Silva Doesn’t Handle Insults Well
We all want to believe that Silva will respond to Sonnen’s trash-talk with brutality. That’s kind of how this narrative goes — Chael has been throwing rocks at a hornet’s nest, and he’s about to get stung the fuck up. Oh, if only. After UFC 112, Ed Soares explained Silva’s odd performance by saying Anderson felt personally disrespected by the things Maia said before the fight. Of course, Maia only said he was going to take one of the Spider’s eight limbs home with him — in between repeated claims that Silva is the best, most complete fighter in the world — but that was enough, apparently, to make Silva want to spend five rounds clowning Maia with an interpretive dance routine while verbally taunting him. Punching and kicking rarely seemed to cross his mind. So what will happen when Silva is faced with an opponent who has actually insulted him? I think Silva will want to humiliate Sonnen, but he’ll do it his way — dancing like a jackass and refusing to engage. Maybe the dancing will be even more ferocious this time, but the general strategy won’t be any different.

3. Silva Doesn’t Consider Sonnen a Worthy Challenger
One of the most common explanations for Silva’s horrible showings in his recent middleweight title fights is that he’s bored. Could there be something to that explanation? Perhaps the reason Anderson has sleepwalked through every 185-pound fight since his battle with Dan Henderson in March 2008 was because he hasn’t fought anybody like Dan Henderson since then. Cote, Leites, and Maia could all be described as one-dimensional fighters who didn’t have a mandate on #1 contendership. As for Sonnen, Ed Soares didn’t think he earned his shot yet. Silva has already dismissed Sonnen as a bit of an idiot who brings nothing new to the table. At this point, the only things that seem to motivate Silva are true competitive challenges. Silva knows he’s a better fighter than Chael Sonnen, and the opportunity to shut Chael’s mouth might not be a great enough incentive.

But hold on — could we be wrong? Will this finally be the fight that gets Anderson Silva to defend his belt with some measure of enthusiasm? Possibly. Here are three reasons why…

1. Silva’s Been Warned
Dana White was clearly upset after the Cote and Leites fiascos, but after being thoroughly embarrassed in Abu Dhabi by Silva’s non-fight against Maia, White really laid down the law, claiming that he will cut Silva if he puts in one more bizarre performance, champion or not. The UFC president is tired of making excuses for his main events and apologizing to the fans. Silva, who’s never been a substantial PPV draw, has now officially become a liability. Even he must understand that it’s time to fight like a freakin’ normal person, or else.

2. Brazilian Pride
As we pointed out earlier, UFC 117 is going to be well-stocked with Brazilian fighters, who will surely want to see Anderson take home a big win in the main event. Whatever the Portuguese equivalent of "kick his ass!" is, Silva will be hearing that all night in the dressing room. National pride is on the line — something that wasn’t a factor during his fights against fellow Brazilians Demian Maia and Thales Leites. Maybe that will be enough to convince Silva to end the night dramatically.

3. Sonnen Doesn’t Know the Meaning of ‘Buttflopping’
Okay, this is going to sound ridiculous, but maybe Chael Sonnen does have the perfect style to beat Silva. He’ll be under no illusions that he can hang with Silva standing. We all know that buttflopping into guard doesn’t work against Silva, and Sonnen wouldn’t try that approach anyway, you know, because he’s a Republican. His only hope — and the only thing Sonnen really knows how to do — is to push forward and shoot, shoot, shoot.  

The last time we saw Silva clearly lose a round was when Dan Henderson took him down in the first frame of their fight at UFC 82; Hendo then spent the majority of the round covering Silva’s mouth and nose with one hand and smashing him with the other. This is basically what Sonnen will be trying to accomplish. You don’t think he can pull it off? You probably didn’t think he could pull it off against Nate Marquardt. Sonnen is not a timid fighter, and getting his forehead split open doesn’t deter him from his goals. He’ll be bringing Silva the kind of pressure that the champ hasn’t seen in a long time. And it might be enough to get Silva to snap out of whatever haze he’s in and start swinging again.


Cagepotato Comments

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cityvville- February 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm
You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!
wth- July 28, 2010 at 2:00 am
Not convinced....

Silva is overrated and hates it when fighters don't play into his game of attacking him so he can counter. That's like his crutch, he needs fighters to initiate so that he can spot their weakness and take advantage of it. So when Cote, Leites, and Maia didn't go guns blazin on the attack, he finally got pissed and threw his 5-yo tantrum in the ring in the Maia fight. Forrest was a brief respite for him since Forrest always engages, but I guess it wasn't enough to keep him happy.

Sonnen will probably look to shoot, but he's not stupid, so he'll probably try to time his shots. But since he won't be shooting w/ reckless abandon, my prediction is that Silva will once again put on a diva show to try to throw Sonnen off his game. Sonnen will refuse to change his timing, and we'll get another snoozefest.

I can't predict who's going to win this match for certain, probably Silva by decision again. But I do know for sure who's gonna lose: the mma fans.
dranokills- July 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm
VSOP regardless of dudes trolling, you just come off looking like a cocksucking grammer Nazi, and that doesn't make you any better than him. kindly stay on topic or go back to grading papers teach, and stay off MMA boards.
Dagnut- July 24, 2010 at 9:21 am
This is the cool crowd is it? How much money is CP getting to sell this fight?
V.S.O.P.- July 24, 2010 at 1:43 am
I rarely comment, this might be my third total. But BuckWild what the fuck is a submittion? The letter T isn't even pronounced when saying the word "Submission" and "S" and "T" are no where near each other on the keyboard. Seriously I try and view MMA as a sport for the more intelligent and I see comments like this from guys who struggle with 4th grade spelling. Consider this trolling/harassing all you want but fuck, if our future relies on the youth lord help me.
ccman- July 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm
In truth the ccotes fight was cotes fault.

The maia fight was 3 rounds maia, 2 silva in the suckiness blame game.

Sonnen has talked 2 much shit not to live down not doing so. Plus he is not doin the jackson\evans "in blacker than you" bullshit. He is daring silva to show up. Not saying he wins. I'm saying he will not run.

As for the authors, the sites articles and humor has changed. Plus the fedor worship is way to much, personally I would like mike to get back to his photoshops and get back to launching the jokes off those. Just one readers opinion.
x1251- July 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm
WTF? Silva refused to engage? What fight were you watching!?

Maia just stood there terrified to do anything, and when he fell on his ass, he just laid there- still refusing to engage!
ReX13- July 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm
Werdum at the ADCC world grappling championships:

Gold in his weight class in 2009 and 2007, bronze in 2005, and silver in 2003

He won bronze in the Absolute weight class in 2003, lost to Roger Gracie in 05 and Andre Galvao in 07, and it doesn't look like he competed in the Absolute in 09, although i can't find out why anywhere.

So.....long story short, it's probably fair to say that Werdum is a top 5 P4P grappler.

MoTropolis- July 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm
I meant top 3 BJJ guys, regardless of weight class, which Im not sure if there even is weight classes in strictly grappling.
dranokills- July 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm
Is it wrong that I want both of them to die in the octagon? is that ok?
I hope Silva dances, and before the second round can start Dan a White jumps in and fires him......
.......or maybe a plane crashes into the ring killing them in flaming ball of gore, and pain.
Asking to much?
Lysol- July 23, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I think he meant Top 3 p4p jiu jitsu guy, not Top 3 p4p MMA fighter.

Either way, he demonstrates no understanding of the concept of pound for pound rankings...
Lysol- July 23, 2010 at 7:10 pm
And Lyoto Machida is going to murder Rua.
ghostboner- July 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm
And whomever said Werdum is top 3 p4p, how do you figger? Because he beat Fedor? So does that make Arlovski top 2 p4p?

@Seaspills over the poop(ils)deck- I was thinking the same thing the other day about whether or not Anderson will actually get fired! I don't think Dana would do it. I think he would make up some bullshit damage control PR and try to shift focus on to the upcoming Lesnar fight. But I agree with a platypus, I think this will be a fight because I think Sonnen will actually bring the fight, which is probably all Anderson wants.
ghostboner- July 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm
Happy saturday morning to you there FBF!

To add to what Googer said:

Nate Marquardt is gonna murder Sonnen.

Melvin Manhoef will kill Robbie Lawler.

Dan Henderson will eat Jake Shields's shit and then make Jake Shields eat the shit that he shit out that was made up of the original shit that he ate. (P.S. Jake Shields is boring)
Goog- July 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm
Excellent point, muchacho.
El Guapo- July 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm
Hold up, Googs, hold up!! "Baby J's gonna murder Frankie"
fatbellyfrank- July 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm
And a hearty good morning to all our journalistic critics. Just read the fucken article or dont read the article, noone gives a fuck. I was however, disturbed to see that it looks like MRuss cuts his own hair, BG cant you slip him a bit more coin?
fatbellyfrank- July 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm
@ Ghostboner, once again I think you've hit the nail smack bang on the head with your perceptive analysis.
And a +1 for you as well, cause its Saturday morning
fatbellyfrank- July 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm
@ Loretta cunt, agreed Ali v's Inoki sucked balls, but look where we are today!
props+1 thats gotta be one of the oldest of old school references
danomite- July 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm
BEN! I disagree with your first point about Silva sucking balls because he's trying to avoid the mat. He pulled the same bullshit against Cote, but luckily Cote's knee saved us from having to endure the full five rounds of shitiness. And I don't think anyone is going to say with a straight face that Silva was afraid of Cote's ground game. I've been saying this forever but I guess I'll say it again. Anderson Silva is only amazing when he's facing an aggressive striker. When he's facing anybody else (wrestlers, grapplers, patient strikers) he is a big flopping pussy. All of that dancing bullshit he does in the octagon is to try to get his opponent to come in swinging so he can counter him. It's the same shit that James Toney is trying to do with all that shit he talks about Randy and wrestling being gay. He knows he's fucked if Randy tries to do anything but stand and trade with him so he's trying to bait him into doing just that.
MoTropolis- July 23, 2010 at 5:06 pm
In regards to what GooG said...

As much as I hate to say it, Lesnar is a beast in his division, size and speed wise and its starting to look like he is building the skills to match it and this is what makes him special.

Werdum is a world class BJJ expert, easily top 3 p4p and this is his specialty.

There is nothing special about Sonnen, unless you count his ability to annoy/entertain ppl with his pre-fight antics, and the only time that has ever won a fight was when Nakao beat Herring by DQ.
Goog- July 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm
"Carwin's gonna murder Lesnar."

"Fedor's gonna murder Werdum."

"Silva's gonna murder Sonnen."
DazedNConfused- July 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm
You're the retard Nealio. He destroyed Henderson in the 2nd round. One of the best grapplers/wrestlers out there. Name one thing Sonnen poses that Henderson didn't? Silva is a sick BJJ artist and if he gets put in that situation he will submit Sonnen.

I agree he's gotten weird with his striking and maybe is genuinely bored because of the crap competition there is @ 185, but I still will argue that when Anderson has to win he will.

I will still say that Anderson is most likely the most talented fighter in the UFC, or anywhere else.

Maybe YOU should watch some of these events. Like the one where Maia triangled the shit out of Sonnen. That was a good one, or where Filho submitted the shit out of Sonnen, orrrr how about the occasion where Jeremy horn submitted the shit out of Sonnen. See a trend here?

Even a rookie Forrest Griffin put Sonnen in a triangle. The man fights too aggressive in his GNP and leaves too many openings to get caught by skilled ground fighters.

I'll admit a skilled grappler will most likely be the one to beat Silva, the only problem is that Chael isn't as skilled as he's been made out to be.
maclaren- July 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm
I believe in Chael Sonnen (R)
Nealio- July 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm
All you retards who think Silva is going to KO Sonnen like a chump need to actually watch some of these events. He doesn't fight grapplers. His only lost rounds are to grapplers. His Jedi-like striking only works if you rush in and stick your chin out (Forrest, Leben, Irvin).
So all the bullshit about Silva owning Sonnen is ridiculous. In reality it will either be a dance-off or a G&P.