Fronted by Kid Nate. Great stuff.
Tomorrow. Chael Sonnen will step into the World Extreme Cagefighting cage to face title holder, Paulo Filho for a second time.
As we all know, the first encounter ended semi-controversially when Filho locked up an arm bar on Sonnen. The controversy lay in the fact the fight was stopped before Sonnen tapped.
Justifiably so, the ending of the bout is all that anyone seems to remembers. What many forget is just how dominant Sonnen was before the fight ended. Sonnen was doing serious damage on the feet while his vastly superior wrestling enabled him to to keep the fight wherever he wanted.
In the end it was the Team Quest fighter's decision to take Filho down late into the second round that proved costly.
I guess what I am trying to say with all of this is, why was Sonnen taking Filho down in the first place?
Filho, for all of his skill and stature in the 185 lbs. division, is strictly a one trick pony. He has excellent BJJ, average wrestling and suspect striking. Sonnen on the other hand has excellent wrestling, average striking (yet substantially better than FIlho), and suspect submission defense.
It doesn't take a genius to realize that if he simply kept the fight on his feet and worked his wrestling defensively he'd be able to give Filho fits. If he didn't know it before the fight he definitely should have realized during it when he almost knocked Filho cold in the first round and was able to thwart his take down attempts for the rest of the fight.
Sonnen was eventually punished for his lack of judgment/decent game plan with the submission loss. After which you would have thought that being the intelligent guy he seems to be that he would have looked at the fight and saw that if he just stayed on his feet he would have come out on top but now I see this interview with Loretta Hunt he did recently and I'm left scratching my head.
To paraphrase, the gameplan seems to be for the Filho fight to take him down and punch him in the face. Is he that unconfident in his stand-up ability? I know he's wrestled for most of his life but he's had a long MMA career shouldn't he know when it's in his best interests not to take someone down?
If he doesn't his camp sure as hell should but it seems to be a trend with the Team Quest camp. Gameplans and Team Quest just don't seem to gel very well. I don't know whether it is simply that they don't come up with one before the fight or whether the fighters in the camp just share a similar disobedient trait.
For years in PRIDE we saw Dan Henderson, former 1992 and 1996 Olympic Greco Roman wrestling competitor on his back against far less accomplished wrestlers. Against Anderson Silva we saw Henderson pull guard about a minute before he was choked out. What is Dan Henderson doing pulling guard?
In the DREAM middleweight grand prix we saw Jason "Mayhem" Miller, who had a clear advantage in striking over his opponent Ronaldo Souza and was needing a big second round to have a chance at victory attempt a guillotine choke against the 2004 and 2005 World Jiu-Jitsu Champion. I know jiu jitsu is usually Mayhem's game but he had to have realised who he was up against and what he needed to do.
Other notable Team Quest gamplan brain farts are Ed Herman jumping back into another Jiu Jitsu world champion, Demain Maia's guard when he had a clear advantage on the feet and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou opting to completely disregard his extensive judo background.
In closing I would just like to say I hope Sonnen does come out victorious tomorrow. I think it provides a lot more options in the future if he does win compared to if Filho defends his title. However if Sonnen chooses to do what he has stated he is going to do against Filho then he will once again be submitted whether it be physically or verbally.