UFC 117: Chael Sonnen Re-Teaches the Lesson We Already Knew: Anderson Silva Can't Wrestle

It's been quite a while since Anderson Silva fought a wrestler.  As Sonnen took Silva down again and again with shots he did not bother to set up, I was not surprised in the least.  Anderson Silva has never been difficult to take down.  It's been a long time since we've seen him on his back because he's been fighting a steady diet of men without wrestling credentials, but wrestlers have never had a hard time finding Anderson Silva in the cage.

Perhaps the most stunning thing about tonight's main event was Anderson's complete inability to defend himself from guard for the better part of four and a half rounds.  His primary strategy was to try to stall for a standup, and when that didn't work, he had no answers...until round 5, when he pulled off one of the greatest comeback wins in UFC history.

There's a false belief that spending hours training a skill will necessarily make someone proficient in that skill.  The truth is that no amount of training would have prepared Anderson Silva to deal with Chael Sonnen's wrestling.  He's not a very good wrestler, and it's far too late for him to get up to speed.  

I've long been in the minority amongst MMA writers and fans in my belief that Georges St. Pierre would defeat Anderson Silva.  Tonight further cemented what I already believed: GSP would take Anderson Silva down at will, and unlike Chael Sonnen, he has the top game to take a dominating decision (at worst).

I believe Anderson will defeat Chael Sonnen in a rematch the same way he won tonight: by submission.  No amount of submission defense training over the next few months will plug the holes in Sonnen's jiu-jitsu game, and in a 5 round fight the odds are really stacked against him.  

If Anderson Silva wins a rematch against Chael Sonnen and Georges St. Pierre defeats Josh Koscheck, it's time to make that fight happen.  The idea that it would be a blowout was always patently absurd, but after tonight it's laughable.  It would be a competitive fight between the best fighters in the world, which is exactly the kind of fight the UFC should be promoting.

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