From MMATorch.com |
KELLER: Silva vs. Sonnen II Notebook - Sonnen's potential gripes, Forrest acts bizarrely, Goldberg's blunder
Jul 8, 2012 - 10:00:34 AM
By Wade Keller, MMATorch Supervising Editor
SILVA-SONNEN II THOUGHTS
That lived up to the hype. Yeah, I'd have loved three more rounds and another finish in the final round instead. In a way, it was over too soon. But watching, and since rewatching the fight, it was quite a fight in that a lot happened.
Sonnen dominated the first round visually, but didn't really do a ton of damage (and no serious damage). Silva, while on his back for nearly five minutes, got a feel for Sonnen's full weight and intensity and absorbed it without being at risk of a stoppage.
Yes, it's easy to say in retrospect, but Silva really is comfortable enough on his back that I wasn't thinking anytime in that first round that Silva could be stopped - certainly not after his resilience in their first fight for four-plus rounds of the same. That said, for four minutes and fifty one seconds you had to be thinking, as a viewer, that the fight might be another four-plus rounds of that, and that Sonnen just had Silva's number in terms of taking him down and holding him down.
Sonnen seemed like he took Silva down so easily and quickly that Silva wouldn't be able to come up with any answer for him at the start of each round. So it'd either be a decisive 50-45 (or less) decision for Sonnen, or Silva would pull out another victory from underneath.
Then in the second round, Silva had an answer for everything. It was classic Silva. Had Silva done in round one what he did in round two, it would have destroyed the legend of Sonnen from the first fight. It would have made that first fight seem like it was a result of an injured Silva taking Sonnen lightly.
Silva brilliantly showed off his takedown defense and balance. He frustrated Sonnen, who may have burned himself out just a little in an "adrenaline dump" effort in the first round. Then Silva showed what makes him who he is - he dropped his hands, stuck his chin out, and let Sonnen punch him. It may have been that "insult" that prompted Sonnen to go for that fateful spinning backfist seconds later. Silva ducked, Sonnen stumbled to the mat and fell back with a thud, and then Silva nailed him with the precise driving knee to the chest.
From there, Sonnen was covering up in a seeming reenactment of Brock Lesnar. Sonnen's head bounced off the mat, he put up more of a fight, Silva leveraged him down again, and then Silva just began taking measured shots at Sonnen, some of which didn't hit, but enough did and the ref stopped the fight.
I would have liked to have seen five more seconds at least, maybe ten, before the stoppage. It was a good stoppage, but at the very very beginning of what qualifies as a good stoppage. A second sooner would have been too soon. Sonnen took that knee and a couple other really stuff punches, but he was intelligently defending himself. His hands were covering his head, and his arms were absorbing most of the blows.
You might say, "But this is Anderson Silva - a motivated, emotional Silva - so he wasn't letting up get up." True. Although I think Sonnen deserved a few more seconds to prove he wasn't biding his time and waiting to pick a spot to try to maneuver free. That said, I think anyone who's watched Silva knows Silva would have likely knocked him down again and perhaps out cold within seconds. Once he gets an advantage like that, he's not going to let up.
SONNEN COULD TRY TO SAVE FACE THIS WAY
If Sonnen wants to trash-talk his way to a rematch, he has some material to work with. This was not an untainted win for Silva. There were three issues he could complain about.
One, he could claim a premature stoppage. He could talk about how he wasn't hurt and had the ref been that quick to call the last fight when he throwing the punches at Silva, he would have been the victor early in their first fight.
Two, he could remind people that before the start, Silva wiped Vaseline from his face onto his body. The ref had to wipe him down before the start because that's illegal, as it would have made him ever so slightly less easy to hold down.
And finally, he could draw attention to the fact that seconds before Silva gained the first real offensive moment of the fight, he held onto the front his trunks blatantly for several seconds. The ref warned Silva not to grab the shorts. That helped Silva keep Sonnen from creating the distance he might have wanted at that moment to set up another takedown. Now, that said, they did "reset" themselves after that so Sonnen had a chance to back away and it wasn't a decisive moment. But it was, technically, cheating.
Sonnen being Sonnen, he could make a real issue of those three points. Sonnen, for anyone to care what he has to say about Silva (whom he is 0-2 against now), has to dominate the rest of the Middleweight Division to the point that after marching through at least three top contenders, he demands another rematch. Odds are slim we'll see it again given their respective ages deep into their 30s. It could happen, though.
POST-FIGHT GRACIOUSNESS BY SILVA
One of the most fascinating moments of the entire night was after the fight when Silva invited Sonnen to join him mid-ring. I had asked MMA heavyweight Bobby Lashley when I interviewed him on Friday if he could imagine a post-fight handshake or hug. He didn't think so. But it did happen.
Sonnen seemed reluctant, if not timid, when Silva invited him over. I was half waiting for one of them to cheap shot the other. But Silva tried to do damage control on his public image and that of the sport. He genuinely doesn't like engaging in trash talking and finds it beneath himself and the sport.
Silva got the last laugh by not only winning, but doing so gracefully. There was no phantom grave digging or showmanship like Tito Ortiz and Brock Lesnar. Instead, he said he wanted to show that Brazil has manners - a dig at Sonnen's rude, crude pre-fight trash talking.
My favorite moment, though, might have been when Silva invited Sonnen to Brazil for a BBQ. The fans in the arena who spoke Portuguese laughed when Silva said it, almost like it was an inside joke, a cultural thing. Sonnen then cracked a smile when it was translated to English. Was Silva suggesting he'd love to have Sonnen over for a BBQ because Sonnen would be the main course? The party invite might read: "How To Serve Sonnen." (*My nod to SyFy's "Twilight Zone" marathon a few nights ago.)
Silva's kids hugging dad afterward with tears running down their face was another memorable image.
TITO VS. FORREST - GLAD IT'S OVER
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin went about as you'd expect. Just call all three fights draws and let's forget they happened. I've enjoyed their respective careers and immensely enjoyed some of their top fights. I've never found their fights against one another the least bit compelling, though. Especially the last two.
The first fight helped establish Forrest after a controversial judges' call gave Tito the win. The second fight was practically an exhibition sparring match that had no sense of importance, with an embarrassment of a third round.
This third fight was fine, but it just wasn't a rubber match that was needed.
Forrest's antics have also grown old. Running to the back after the fight ended but before the decision was read was just strange, with Dana White chasing him down to get him back to the ring.
Then he immaturely, awkwardly (at least the way I saw it) interviewed Tito Ortiz afterward. It was Tito's night, he probably had a speech of some sort worked out in his head, and he had to deal with Forrest injecting himself into the situation. I don't think Forrest meant any harm. That's just who he is. But it would have been classier for him to raise Tito's hand, refuse a victory speech, and walk out of the Octagon afterward, letting Ortiz have the moment to himself and interviewer Joe Rogan.
MORE OF GOLDBERG BEING GOLDBERG
Mike Goldberg gave his critics more fodder to justify their feelings about him when, near the end of the main event, Joe Rogan asked Goldberg if that was a knee to the head that Silva threw. Goldberg said definitively "Yes!" Unfortunately for Goldberg, no it wasn't.
On replay, it was a knee to the chest. I know Goldberg got wrapped up in the moment, but Joe wasn't sure, and Goldberg decided to be sure about something he wasn't sure about and had no right to be sure about. He just sounded like he was on autopilot, wanting to be strong in his opinion as not to sound wishy-washy, but at the expense of accuracy.
However, the most annoying Goldberg moment of the night was when he said he "could not wait" for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter to start in September.
I'm not sure what would have been sadder, if he really meant it and said it like he meant it, or what actually happened, which was he read it like he was reading a credit card privacy statement out loud. He was completely disconnected emotionally from the words and just read the script with the empty hyperbole that causes viewers to just shake their heads and wonder if he's capable of sincere moments as an announcer rather than just vacuous hype.
© Copyright by MMATorch.com