Chael Sonnen came closer than any fighter in the UFC ever has to defeating longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
But his loss at UFC 148 last Saturday was equally emphatic.
Sonnen looked out-classed as Silva refused to be taken down for a second time. He ended up finishing the fight with his fists in the second round.
Striking trumps wrestling—that was the lesson of Silva/Sonnen 2. Or at least Silva’s striking coupled with his takedown defence won the day.
Sure, Sonnen outfought him in the first match, where the champion could claim to have been caught by surprise, but Silva learned from that fight and rose to the challenge. It’s hard to imagine why another fighter with a wrestling base could think he could do any better.
However, there is still a case for that. Just as Silva’s performance in the first fight could be questioned, so too can Sonnen’s in the second. He won the first round with ease but crumpled in the pressure of the second.
A better wrestler can still take him down and pummel him with vicious ground and pound. Someone like Mark Munoz, perhaps, who is arguably a better wrestler than Sonnen, would be far more lethal on top as well. His famed “Donkey Kong” punches could give Silva a beating far more brutal than Sonnen ever dished out.
Perhaps Munoz could even finish him on the ground.
It’s highly likely that Munoz will be coming in with a similar game plan to Sonnen. We’ve already known that Silva struggles with that style, and it’s a style Munoz has perfected.
We’re unlikely to see a better more lethal striker than Silva to emerge anytime soon. But we know he doesn’t deal very well with a good wrestler from his back. This is a weakness other fighters will now look to exploit.
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