On July the 7th one of the most anticipated match ups in the history of Mixed Martial Arts will take place. The world’s top middleweights, Anderson Silva (29-4) and Chael Sonnen (28-11-1), will go head to head for a second time with the winner leaving as the middleweight champion of the world. Title fights don’t get any bigger than this and though both fighters share the same goal they themselves couldn’t be further apart.
For the Brazilian Silva martial arts are as much a way of life as they are a tool to succeed in the octagon. Silva subscribes strictly to the principles of discipline, honour and respect. He is a soft spoken humble man outside the cage yet once inside he transforms into a vicious, brutal striker; a master of an elegant yet deadly breed of violence. At his magnificent best his fluent striking is breath-taking to behold, his fights more closely resembling a dance than a brawl. His destruction of the much larger former champion Forrest Griffin was a thing of beauty. He is of that rare breed of athlete that seems to transcend all others in his field. His six year unbeaten run in the UFC has been faultless, no one has come close to stopping him. No one that is except Chael Sonnen.
Chael Sonnen is none of the above: Chael Sonnen is a fighter. He wears down his opponents with his powerful wrestling and nonstop pressure. He is the quintessential grinder. It is not always pretty on the eye but it is effective. It is ruthlessly effective. For four and a half rounds the American dominated Silva, destroying his aura of invincibility, almost destroying the myth. Almost, but not quite. At the 3:10 mark of the fifth and final round Sonnen got caught in a triangle choke and tapped. A mere two minutes away from glory, Sonnen was at the gates of immortality only to be held back by his Achilles heel; submission defence. For Silva the most unlikely of victories was snatched from the jaws of defeat, the mark of a champion permanently stamped to his legacy.
Silva will look to prove that the rib injury he entered the fight with was the reason for his poor showing, he will look to dominate Sonnen, to destroy him, to send him back to the realm of mortals. And for Sonnen? He will seek to prove that the last fight was not a fluke, that it was only a lapse in concentration on his behalf which led to his defeat, he will try and do the same for five whole rounds and prove that it is he, not Silva, who is the greatest middleweight in the world.
The build-up to the eagerly anticipated rematch has seen the American, as brash outside the cage as he is in it, verbally abuse Silva for the past two years. He has called him a fraud, a phony and most damaging of all has repeatedly disparaged his homeland of Brazil. In the past few days it appears to have got to Silva as the usually reserved Brazilian lashed out in a recent media call. Has Sonnen got into his head? Are the chinks in Silva’s armour already beginning to show? There is a school of thought that says that Sonnen’s style both inside and outside the cage makes him the perfect foil to Silva. They say he is Silva’s kryptonite. Sonnen believes that he is.
This fight is more than a clash of top contenders; it is a clash of wills, a clash of personalities, a clash of cultures and ultimately a clash of styles. Will the majestic artistry of Silva be able to overcome the relentless, grinding assault of Sonnen? Next Saturday we will find out.
- 30 Sexiest WAGs Of 2012
- 50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- 10 Most Paused Movie Moments
- Football’s Worst Ever Cheating Divers
- 10 Great Footballers Who Made Terrible Managers
- 100 Greatest Premier League Players Of All Time
- 50 Great Footballers Who Ruled 2012
- 15 Worst Ever Premier League Signings