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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Columnist
Kenton writes: I believe that if what Silva said in his conference call tirade is even remotely sincere then he is in for a very long night of Sonnen planting him on his back for 25 minutes. Silva clearly has better stand up than the challenger on paper, but just as in their first fight I see Sonnen taking using takedown feints to get the better of the exchanges. Silva seems unstoppable once he gets through his feeling out process. Sonnen was able to use a relentless offense to never allow Silva to find his range and really open up. Do you think that Silva will be able to change things up enough to make their second meeting look much different from their first 4 1/2 rounds they fought? Do you think that if Silva comes out with a more aggressive striking attack that it will be an advantage to him or give Sonnen more opportunities to get the fight to the ground?
A: While it's true that Anderson Silva likes to take the first minute of the first round off to gauge the timing of his opponents, I think it's a gross oversimplification of his skill set to suggest that he's impotent without a feeling out process.
People often forget that part of the reason guys don't just bull rush "The Spider" early is because for a good while he was blowing the doors off his opponents early. Granted, he's always liked to open up almost exactly one minute into the first frame, but for a good stretch he was wrecking elite fighters in the first round. We saw Chris Leben try to take the fight to Silva early and he got wasted in 49 seconds.
The UFC Middleweight Champion gets lauded for a lot of his talents inside the Octagon, but I feel like his intelligence is the only aspect of his game that gets overlooked. Part of why this fight is so exciting is because we know how Chael Sonnen is going to approach it; he's going to press hard from the jump and try to wrestle Silva to the ground. What shocks me is that fans seem to believe that Anderson Silva is the only guy in the world that isn't aware of Sonnen's gameplan.
For Chael Sonnen's attack to work, he needs to get in really close. I think at that point, Silva should just try to hit him in the face. Obviously if he gets taken down, he probably wants to avoid having to play guard for too long, get back to his feet and then hit Sonnen some more.
Benjamin writes: I am very curious as to whether you, or anyone at Torch knows if Chael was off of TRT for his fight with Bisping? The chronology in my mind seems to recall the approval for TRT therapy AFTER his fight with Bisping. When I think about Sonnen's performance against Anderson and his performance against Bisping it is night and day.
A: Yes, Chael Sonnen testified to the Nevada State Athletic Commission that he was indeed undergoing testosterone replacement therapy for his fight with Michael Bisping. As a matter of fact, at the UFC 148 pre-fight press conference Sonnen said that he'd die without his "medicine."
One of the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy is muscle growth; and Chael Sonnen is positively enormous these days. Conversely, one of the drawbacks to testosterone replacement therapy is water retention. Neither of those things is good for cutting weight and we've seen that take its toll on Sonnen in his last two fights.
Chael performed well against Brian Stann, but he looked much more sucked out than usual. Against a more formidable opponent in Michael Bisping, Chael looked even more sucked out and that time his conditioning looked off.
It definitely seems like Sonnen was at the height of his physical abilities back in 2010. Perhaps long term use of TRT has made it so that the "gangster" from West Lynn, Oregon is more suited for the 205 pound weight class.
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