The UFC’s middleweight champion Anderson Silva had some harsh words for Chael Sonnen. Sonnen had an impressive performance against Silva at UFC 117, taking him to the ground repeatedly and controlling the fight for four and a half rounds.
Silva is currently scheduled to face Yushin Okami at UFC Rio, and the Brazilian didn’t mince words when he found out the Japanese MMA fighter is currently training with Sonnen. Silva told reporters: “You have to find the best people to train with, and I think [Okami] chose wrong, I’d never align myself with a loser, a loser in every sense. He didn’t win the fight [between us] and got caught doping. You want to be a champion? Get with good people, with winners. Moreover, Sonnen wasn’t a tough opponent for me. I was injured with cracked ribs and fought five rounds. If I hadn’t been injured, the fight would have been different.”
Regardless of anyone’s opinion about Sonnen, training with him is actually a good plan for Okami. Okami is a solid wrestler, and should be able to utilize a similar game plan against Anderson.
Silva has maintained for quite some time that his ribs were cracked during his UFC 117 encounter with Sonnen. Since MMA’s pound-for-pound champion has been dominant for so long, I have to take his word for it. Those who have cracked (or even bruised) a rib in the past, will probably understand how that would affect someone’s ability to defend takedowns.
When Silva and Okami met back in 2006, Silva clearly won the standup battle, hitting Okami at will with well timed combinations. However, Okami was successful in his only takedown attempt, and was able to keep Silva on the ground, until an illegal up-kick put him to sleep.
I’m sure Silva has been working extremely hard on his takedown defense after the Sonnen fight, and it will be interesting to see who wins the wrestling battle. It should be a close fight, but in the end I just can’t see the Spider losing in Rio.