This Saturday the MMA world will showcase its biggest event of the year live on Pay-Per-View from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chael Sonnen will once again challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC’s Middleweight Championship. The last time Sonnen had his shot at the title he made Anderson Silva look human and dominated him for over four rounds until he got submitted by a triangle-choke in the 5th and final round.
Anderson Silva landed some solid strikes in the few moments that the fight was fought standing but Chael Sonnen was having his way and taking the Champion down almost at will. Most of the fight saw Sonnen on the top position raining down punches on Anderson Silva, who many consider the best pound-for-pound fighter in Mixed Martial Arts.
Being a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Nogueira brothers, Anderson Silva was always a threat on his back despite losing every round prior to the submission. Given the fact that seven of Sonnen’s eleven losses had come by submission prior to the bout, it’s not as big of a shocker as it seemed that night that he got caught in a submission.
“The Spider” Silva did say after the fight that he wanted to win by submission due to comments Chael had made about the Nogueira brothers’ black belt legitimacy. He also said he had a rib injury and that a doctor recommended that he not go on with the fight.
In the hype leading up to this fight the promoter, the UFC, has failed to talk much about the news that occurred after the first fight. After the fight are the steroid tests results where Chael Sonnen tested positive for high testosterone levels.
On September 20th, 2010 Josh Gross from SI.com reported,
“Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen tested positive for abnormally high levels of testosterone following an Aug. 7 UFC championship fight against titleholder Anderson Silva, the California State Athletic Commission informed SI.com….”
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/mma/09/20/sonnen.drugtest/index.html#ixzz1zpFM0KJl
The levels of the testosterone were reported being 17 times higher than the normal man’s testosterone level. How much this played into the fight is unknown but you have to take it into account. Sonnen has made claims that he needs TRT (Synthetic testosterone) for medical reasons and has even said he will die without it.
Chael Sonnen was successfully granted permission to use TRT for his fight with Anderson by the NSAC as long as he stays within their regulations. This has of course sparked some debate and controversy within the MMA community. While Sonnen will be allowed to use TRT it’s important to know that the level of testosterone he was caught with in the last fight would still result in the positive test for this fight, it was just too high. Nevertheless, like it or not, he has the green light to fight on under the NSAC regulations and the fight will go on this Saturday.
With the stories and circumstances that occurred during and after the last fight almost two years ago, we’re left with many questions. Anderson Silva should be in better condition, if we believe him about the injury going into last fight. If we believe that he wanted to win the last fight by submission, then you believe this time he’ll be more interested in being the same Spider that has been dominating UFC Middleweights since he arrived to the scene. Although he’s allowed to use TRT for this fight, Sonnen shouldn’t come into the Octagon with testosterone levels that are 17-times higher than your average man. If we take all these things and add them up then the answer should be simple; Anderson by utter domination.
But what if it’s all just smoke and mirrors? What if Anderson Silva’s injury wasn’t as bad as he said it was? After all, if you ask fighters in both MMA and Boxing it’s rare that you go into a fight 100%, it’s part of the fight business. What if Anderson Silva conveniently said he was just trying to get the submission for his friend Nogueira to explain why he was dominated for over four and half rounds? He wouldn’t even have to lie about these things; all those things can be partially true, but would it explain getting dominated for four and half rounds?
Perhaps Sonnen is just a bad match up for Anderson Silva. He was a Division-I NCAA wrestler and he has dominated good strikers such as Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt by taking them down to the ground. To put his take down ability into perspective, Okami managed to keep the fight with Mark Munoz, a good wrestler, on the feet. Clearly this is an area that Chael Sonnen has recently shown he’s perhaps the best at in the weight-class.
Given the fact that most of Sonnen’s losses came by submission it doesn’t seem that it’s strikers he has a problem with, which is clearly Anderson Silva’s strongest asset. While Anderson clearly has good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, being a black belt, it’s nowhere near at the level of his striking.
Sonnen’s gabble could also be something that takes the Middleweight champion out of his comfort zone. Sonnen has made derogatory statements about Silva, the Nogueira’s, and even Brazil. Also, maybe Chael Sonnen is telling the truth, maybe he does medically need TRT for his health.
The other thing is confidence; Chael Sonnen is taking a lot of that to the Octagon on Saturday. He’s said to have worked in submission defense during this camp, which with 8 losses by submission you’d wonder what he’s waited for. If Sonnen can take the fight to the ground as he did the last time and avoid being reckless, he may very well win a decision.
Sonnen will fight to prove that the first time around was no fluke and that he doesn’t need testosterone levels 17 times higher than your average human being to beat Anderson. Anderson Silva fights to prove why he is the best MMA fighter on the planet once again.