MMA fans have waited for the rematch between current middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen for quite some time, but it seems like the wait is finally coming to an end.
At the UFC 143 post-fight press conference, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White confirmed both men have verbally agreed to meet in June. The bout will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I’m sure it’ll be a huge success for the UFC.
Sonnen became the only man to make Anderson Silva look remotely human at UFC 117, dominating the sports’ pound-for-pound best for four and a half rounds. Unfortunately for Sonnen, he wasn’t able to close the deal, getting trapped in an arm bar-triangle combo in the final minutes of the fight.
Many MMA fans gave Sonnen a lot of credit for his valiant effort against Silva, but the events that followed UFC 117 put a huge asterisk on his performance against “The Spider.” Sonnen failed his post-fight drug test, showing elevated levels of testosterone, and Silva claimed a rib injury affected his performance.
Sonnen was handed a one year suspension following the failed drug test, putting a potential rematch with Silva hold.
Sonnen came back from his suspension with a vengeance, manhandling Brian Stann and finishing him off with an arm-triangle at UFC 136. Sonnen didn’t look as impressive in his second fight against Michael Bisping, narrowly walking away with a unanimous decision (I scored the fight 29-28 for Bisping).
Silva has also fought twice since UFC 117, outclassing Vitor Belfort, and handing Yushin Okami a thorough beating in his native country of Brazil.
Once upon a time, I felt Sonnen was good enough to put on another solid performance against Silva, but the events following UFC 117 have left some serious doubts in my mind. Bisping recently crushed the myth surrounding Sonnen’s takedowns and I’m not so sure he’ll be able to take and keep Silva down.
Given how well Silva has done against solid grapplers like Dan Henderson, Okami and Travis Lutter (before Lutter lost his focus), it’s easy to believe the middleweight champ when he says a bruised rib affected his performance at UFC 117.
Besides, I’m sure he’s been working a lot on his wrestling and takedown defense ever since, and I expect Silva to put on a performance we won’t soon forget in June.