Chael Sonnen was defeated by Anderson Silva at UFC 148. The man that did a majority of the trash talking once again was unable to come out on top. He did everything from criticize Silva’s family to Silva’s country, but was ultimately unsuccessful in defeating the champion.
While the loss wasn’t shocking, it did look eerily similar to his previous losses. Sonnen dominated the first round and was even able to mount Silva in the first round. He looked to be in control and the fight looked to be going the same was as the first fight, but one mistake ruined the night for the challenger.
Sonnen was pressuring Silva again in the second round when he decided to throw a strike no one has ever seen him throw, a spinning elbow. He ultimately lost his balance and fell to the ground looking all to similar to every other Silva opponent. Sonnen’s distraught look showed it all and for a fighter who seems to have a conventional striking game the elbow was stunning.
If he landed the elbow, we would have called him a genius, but the risk outweighed the reward. Why not go for the takedown? Why not keep pressuring him against the cage?
These are questions not only fans will ask, but Sonnen will also. There is no doubt Sonnen will be back and we can be sure he won’t throw that elbow again, but his title chances have run out, at least while Silva is king.
It wouldn’t be a big deal if he lost because he was outfought, it’s the issue of how similar the loss has looked.
He’s one of the top middleweights in the world, but can’t seem to win a belt. Sometimes it can be contributed to bad luck, others are due to big mistakes on his part.
In the first fight with Silva, Sonnen dominated the whole fight before making an amateur mistake on a triangle. He didn’t pay attention to the wrist control and that’s all that Silva needed. This fight the spinning elbow was the mistake.
This isn’t just a case of two fights either, but even when he was in the WEC. The first fight with Paulo Filho he was winning with his wrestling before getting caught with an arm bar. Controversy may surround that fight because Silva never tapped, but he was in trouble and ultimately would have needed to tap.
The submission game has always been a weakness for Sonnen. In fights he was winning, poor submission defense cost him his shot and now another mistake costs him the title. It was a move we’ve never seen from Sonnen, but one we’ve come to expect. He dominates before one mistake derails the train.
There is no doubt he will be back. Sonnen will have a massive chip on his shoulder, but that chip won’t get him to a title. He’s used up his shots against Silva and neither fans nor the UFC want another fight. He had a chance and missed it, but isn’t that how Sonnen’s career has gone?