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UFC 117 Preview – Chael Sonnen Vs. Anderson Silva

Thanks to Chael Sonnen’s superb hype job, there is actual interest in not only an Anderson Silva fight, but an Anderson Silva fight against a fighter without a terrific pedigree.

It’s not like Sonnen isn’t a good fighter. He’s a former WEC champion, but he’s also a fighter who toiled in the UFC in the mid 2000s, going 1-2 and losing to the likes Jeremy Horn and Babalu Sobral by second round submissions. He remade himself by winning 7 of his next 8 fights in Bodog, SportFight, and WEC and then subsequently lost his first fight back in the UFC to Demian Maia, the same Demian Maia who Anderson Silva didn’t take seriously and beat easily.

But he then beat Dan Miller, Yushin Okami, and Nate Marquardt in succession to get the title shot with Silva. He’s gone 10-2 since his first run in the UFC, but only because he’s become the best promo guy in the UFC, is this fight even half as interesting as it would be if he wasn’t so good with a microphone in his face.

The FGB crew, along with Stevie J from Angry Marks, friend of FGB JP, and Ryan Frederick, member of the F4W Board~!, are here with predictions for the top three fights on the card.

Junior Dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson

Duan: Dos Santos by 1st round TKO
Alan: Dos Santos by 1st round TKO
Stevie J: Dos Santos by decision
JP: Dos Santos by 3rd round TKO
Ryan: Dos Santos by 2nd round TKO
GG: Dos Santos by 2nd round TKO

Duan says:

All Nelson’s wins have been at a certain level, and in my opinion Dos Santos is about four leagues up from that. Nelson has great power, but is stylistically crude. JDS will see his shots coming a mile out and take him out with some damaging counters.

Alan says:

This is a very interesting fight to me. I really think Junior could be in trouble if Roy gets him down. Sure Dos Santos is a far better striker but he’s not going to be able to strike without caution because he has to be wary of both the takedown and Nelson’s huge right hand. However I’m going to pick Junior because I think he’ll be well prepared and he seems like a smart fighter so he should be able to time his shots as he needs to and avoid danger. I see him picking Roy apart late in the 1st.

Stevie J says:

It’s pretty clear UFC are high on JDS as a future contender after Cain Velasquez. He’s beaten a who’s who list of heavyweights – Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga, Mirko Cro Cop et cetera. He’s also something of a phenom given he’s 11-1 and only 25 years old – most people in MMA aren’t that good that fast that young. You can’t count Roy Nelson out though. Many people have made the mistake of looking at his buddha belly and not taking him seriously, and they’ve come to pay the price. Even ‘Skyscraper’ Stefan Struve found he wasn’t too tall for the butterball and his chin could be touched. He’s a former IFL Heavyweight Champion, and some people may not give that much credence, but he successfully defended the title three times after winning it up until the promotion closed, finishing with a TKO of Brad Imes. Then he rolled an entire season of Ultimate Fighter like nobody’s business. On paper JDS is younger, stronger, faster, better. On the ground Nelson is probably the better wrestler and BJJ fighter, and has both age and experience on his side. I’m +REALLY+ tempted to pick Nelson in the upset here, as I would personally find a Brock Lesnar vs. Roy Nelson fight much more fun to watch (just imagine the promos) but I think JDS will fight a cautious and possibly even boring fight to avoid getting hit by one of Nelson’s heavy hands or being submitted on the ground.

JP says:

This is a pretty interesting stylistic match up. Roy Nelson is a great grappler with enough striking ability to stand with just about anyone; Junior Dos Santos is a great striker who, because he trains with the Nogs’, has enough capability on the ground to at least keep himself out of danger. I think this turns into a war of attrition and I see Junior Dos Santos being the better conditioned fighter of the two. As Nelson tires and Dos Santos continues to pour it on with power shots, eventually Big Country will go down a la his fight with Arlovski.

Ryan says:

This fight will determine who will face the winner of the Brock Lesnar/Cain Velasquez fight that takes place in October. Nelson is not your usual MMA fighter. He doesn’t have the body of a Randy Couture. He doesn’t train at a top gym. He trains out of his house and visits various places in Las Vegas. Dos Santos trains with Anderson Silva and the Nogueiras. Dos Santos has shown to be able to finish guys quickly. He has made a lot of heavyweights look unimpressive. He’s finished Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Gilbert Yvel and Gabriel Gonzaga quickly. He dominated Mirko Cro Cop for three rounds. Now, Nelson isn’t easy to finish at all. Nelson will probably take this fight to the ground, and we haven’t seen Dos Santos’ ground game, though it is said to be very good. I see Dos Santos able to weather a storm in the first round, and find a way to keep this fight standing in the second, and using his very good stand-up and his power to ultimately finish the fight.

GG says:

I see this similarly as Ryan does. I think Nelson’s talent and style will pacify Dos Santos’ barrage of uppercuts and possibley early stoppage. But I do think that immense talent will overcome here and that he will be able to figure Nelson out near the end of round two and put him out.

Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch

Duan: Fitch by decision
Alan: Alves by 2nd round TKO
Stevie J: Fitch by decision
JP: Fitch by decision
Ryan: Fitch by decision
GG: Fitch by decision

Duan says:

In rematches, unless something has drastically changed in the make up the fight, I pick the guy who won first time around to do the same job again. And while Alves may have quadrupled in size since these two last met, I don’t think it will change the outcome. Fitch wins this in the manner he has perfected; boring us all to tears.

Alan says:

Fitch is going to look to do exactly what GSP did to Alves, and I’m not sure how Thiago is going to stop it, but for some reason I think he will. Maybe he’ll catch him with a knee coming in, maybe his takedown defense has improved ten fold, I’m not sure, but I think Thiago ties their series.

Stevie J says:

Not the money fight on UFC 117. No offense to either guy but I can’t whip up a lick of excitement about it. Jon Fitch is the best boring fighter you’ll ever see and I mean no disrespect by that whatsoever. He’s damn good. The only person who ever made him look really bad is GSP and even in a loss he went all five rounds with the world’s best for the title. Funny how GSP can make good fighters look bad, because he did the same thing to Thiago Alves at UFC 100. I guess it makes sense to do this fight then and see which one can move up to face GSP again, especially since they fought before and Fitch won – ironically in one of his rare NON-decision victories (a TKO via punching and believe it or not UPKICKS). I suspect Alves may be the hungrier of the two fighters given he’s been out of action since July 2009 while Fitch has fought twice since then. I think that plays to Fitch’s advantage since people who are out of action for a long time don’t always fare well no matter how hard they train before a fight (see Rampage).

JP says:

It is a shame because I really like watching Alves work his muay thai, but Fitch is going to do what he does to anyone not named GSP…take them down and wear them out for 3 rounds. Alves had no answer for GSP’s wrestling and probably won’t have one for Fitch’s either. Unless he can catch Fitch and put him out cold, which is doubtful because no welterweight ever has, Alves will suffer through another three rounds of superior wrestling and limited offensive opportunities.

Ryan says:

The rematch from their 2006 fight will show how much both guys have improved. They have both become better fighters since then, and Alves has tremendously improved and is a really dangerous striker, and is a huge welterweight, often cutting from over 200 to make 170 (and as I write this, I hear he is having trouble cutting weight). Fitch is a big welterweight as well. Both guys have found out what it’s like to fight for the title, only to be dominated by Georges St. Pierre, and both guys are fighting to get back there. I think this fight will be much different than their 2006 encounter, and as dangerous a striker as Alves is, and he has good takedown defense, but as shown in his fight against St. Pierre, he can be taken down by an elite wrestler, and while St. Pierre is arguably the best wrestler in MMA, Fitch is ranked really high on the list. I think we will get the Jon Fitch specialty in which Fitch will be able to take down Alves and grind out a decision on his way back to a title shot.

GG says:

I think Alves is the more electric fighter, the more interesting fighter, and it will be better for the business if he won. I think it’s easy to pick Fitch here because of the way he wins and he’s simply the more consistently good fighter. But that’s not why I’m picking him. I’m picking him because Alves hasn’t fought in over a year and has had a few issues in the past with injuries, specifically the scary issue with his brain when he had to pull out of this same fight in March. Unless he catches Fitch sleeping, I don’t see how cage rust and coming back from injuries will be good for Alves. Fitch is too consistently good.

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva

Duan: Silva by 1st round TKO
Alan: Sonnen by decision
Stevie J: Silva by decision
JP: Silva by 2nd round submission
Ryan: Silva by 2nd round TKO
GG: Silva by 2nd round TKO

Duan says:

Silva by first round KO. This will be a massacre.

Alan says:

Chael by decision! He’s gonna grab him at the start of every round and just WEAR ON HIM. He’s gonna beat him up and he’s gonna break his spirit. I cannot wait. It’s going to be the best boring fight ever.

Stevie J says:

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but Silva by decision. This pick makes me sad more than any other on this roundtable because Chael Sonnen is AWESOME. As a fighter he’s good, possibly great, but as a promo man he’s simply MONEY. When he talks about it being a “moral imperative” to fight Silva, how we’ve never seen Silva be challenged before and now he can’t run away, how he’s going to take Silva down and punch a hole through his face, this is all FIVE STAR stuff. Unfortunately all the hype in the world doesn’t change one regrettable fact – he may be a cocky piece of shit arrogant son of a bitch but Anderson Silva is exactly as good as he believes he is (and maybe better). Has anyone even tested Silva in years? Who hasn’t he humiliated at either middleweight or light heavyweight? He may not even be a human being – he may be some extraterrestrial sent to Earth to annoy the piss out of everyone and own the sport of MMA. Find me a more reasonable explanation as to why this cock is still a UFC champion, because I don’t have one. Somebody should have beaten him by now, nobody can, and I hate to say it but Chael Sonnen just won’t be the one.

JP says:

I am probably in the minority here but I hope that my prediction is off and instead Anderson Silva just toys with Chael Sonnen for 5 rounds. I know it would piss off Dana White something fierce, but I think Silva deserves to do whatever he wants after all the trash that Sonnen has talked. With that out of the way, I just do not think Sonnen has much to offer here. If he thinks he can take Anderson down for five rounds and not get submitted, I think he is fooling himself. Any opponent Sonnen has confronted with legit BJJ skills has gotten a tap out from him. Silva has legit BJJ and will get Sonnen to quit, sacrifice an extremity, or lose consciousness. It’s either that or try and stand with the best striker in the organization. Regardless of what route to Sonnen takes, he will lose.

Ryan says:

The fight everyone is talking about. Sonnen has done a tremendous job building up the fight. Win or lose, he has made himself into a star. That being said, the only way I see him winning this fight is if he is consistently able to take Silva down and ground him out for all five rounds. I just don’t see it happening. Everyone can talk about the kind of fighter we saw Silva as in his fights against Demian Maia, Thales Leites and Patrick Cote, and this is honestly his toughest test since Dan Henderson. Silva has for a long time been a tremendous counter fighter, and if you push the action on him, like Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin and Nate Marquardt have done, there is no one more dangerous in MMA than Silva. Sonnen is going to come after him, and I believe we will see the Anderson Silva that has grown into the pound for pound best fighter in the planet in this fight. I see him toying with Sonnen for one round, until ultimately finishing Sonnen in the second.

GG says:

I really don’t think this is going to be that close. I think the talent gap is just too big. Give Sonnen credit for being able to hype this fight like only few can, but the one thing he has over Silva is wrestling skill, but it’s not like he’s the best wrestler Silva has fought. I think Silva’s take down defense is strong and will be enough to keep Sonnen standing. Silva toys with him for a bit to make him pay for what he said (even though he should be thanking him when it comes to his pay check), and puts him away in the second round.

There you have our picks. And if Alan is right in two of his fights tomorrow night, you’ll know who to listen to next time.

We’ll be back Saturday with our play by play of the event.

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8 thoughts on “UFC 117 Preview – Chael Sonnen Vs. Anderson Silva

  1. Just a scenario I came up with, in regard to Alves, title contender and his weight issues.

    Since he has already shown that he can not be trusted to make weight for a title match, I think it is time for Dana to move him up.

    So if Alves wins, instead of giving him a title shot at 170, how about giving him a title eliminator match against Yushin Okami at 185?

    It could be beneficial for all parties. Dana wants to put Okami in title contention but with Belfort waiting in line, Okami could use one more fight in the mean time. Alves is an elite talent but seems unsuited for 170. A fight against Okami could be really interesting and would be an easy pass to a fight against Belfort/Silva, which would be a striking fans dream.

    Could be fun?

  2. If I were to guess, Alves will make some excuse to why he couldn’t cut and promise that he’ll be better for his next fight. I don’t think he wants any part of 185.

  3. Alves is only to big for 170 because he made himself that way [im not accusing anybody of anything here 🙂 ] but he was certainly not too big for 170 at the start of his ufc tenure.

    The fact of the matter is he is trying to squash himself into a weight class he doesn’t belong in. I’m not going to mince my words here either, what he is doing is cheating plain and simple. He tested positive for diuretics in the past, and he has since continued to come in above weight. His fight with Hughes was a disgrace. The guy ballooned up to a ridiculous size. There is no way he should have been allowed fight. It’s not just a simple violation of the rules either, it’s also hugely dangerous. We have weight classes for a reason.

    Im interested in seeing if dana white has consistency in regard to this issue. He has had huge blow ups with other guys in tuf and ufc over missing weight. And I cant remember anyone else being over more than once

  4. Thing is, Alves is a top 5 welterweight, and probably not a top 5 middleweight. Thus, he’ll get lost in the shuffle. So he will probably not ask to fight in middleweight.

    It would probably be best of him to lose some of that muscle mass so that he won’t be so heavy walking around.

    Like Duan seemed to be hinting at, best case scenario here would be for Dana to play a little bit of hardball with Thiago to get him to stop wasting people’s time.

  5. Perhaps I am just interested in seeing Alves at 185 because the division lacks some excitement right now.

    Alves needs to get the weight issues under control. These epic weight cuts will hinder his cardio which is an issue against the wrestling heavy 170 division.

  6. I think more importantly, he needs to do a better job for his health. He’s already had the brain ordeal. And his body shut down in cutting .5 pounds. That’s scary.

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