In a much anticipated Middleweight fight at UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III, Chael Sonnen defeated Brian Stann via arm triangle choke in the second round. Sonnen dominated the fight from the opening bell, using superior wrestling to take Stann down and absolutely control him on the mat. This was MMA grappling at its finest, and another very impressive outing from Sonnen. The win here marks Sonnen's first fight back after a year out of action following his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117. For Stann, this was the toughest fight of his young career, and ended his perfect 3-0 run at Middleweight.
Heading into the fight, the normally antagonistic Sonnen was uncharacteristically quiet, stating that he respected Stann for his military service and would not trash talk him. But as soon as the fight ended, the trash talking Sonnen reappeared. In his post-fight interview, Sonnen challenged Anderson Silva to a rematch at the Super Bowl weekend show in 2012. Sonnen also vowed to raise the stakes, challenging Silva to leave the Middleweight division forever should Sonnen win, and promising to leave the UFC himself if he loses.
What was the high spot of this fight?
Sonnen's entire performance was great, and I could point to his grappling or submission finish, but let's be honest here - it was the post-fight challenge.
Where do these guys go from here?
Dana White would be insane to not book Silva vs. Sonnen 2 at this point. I just can't fathom any reason not to go for it.
Stann showed that he's not quite at these upper levels of Middleweight just yet. But he's also someone with value to the UFC. I think they'll want to rebuild him with a somewhat high profile striker he can slug it out with. Vitor Belfort or Yoshihiro Akiyama would both make fine choices.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. I've been skeptical of Sonnen at times, but this was one of the most dominant uses of wrestling in an MMA setting we have seen. The submission was beautiful, and whatever you may think of his pro wrestling antics, he's got everyone talking.