In their first encounter, Sonnen dominated the entire fight; round one through to round five with wrestling and ground-and-pound but it was Silva who was the victor- finishing Sonnen with a triangle choke seconds before the end of round five! Since then, the fans have cried for a rematch believing that Sonnen is the only middle weight who can stop Silva. The UFC's middle weight division is running out of potential opponents for Anderson (rumours suggested the UFC considered Silva v GSP was the only remaining fight worth promoting); and so it looks like a rematch between the two is inevitable.
In order for either man to win the rematch, he would have to look back at their initial fight and explain what he did wrong, what he could've done better and what he should do next time round. If this were true in Sonnen's case we would have seen at least a slight change in his fighting style. But in Sonnen's most recent bout against Brian Stann, it was apparent that his fighting style remains unchanged. He forced Stann to the ground almost every time with explosive take downs, softening him up with his usual style of ground-and-pound, finally finishing the fight in the second round with an arm triangle. This style is very effective against most fighters but Silva is not ‘most fighters'. In fact Sonnen truly believes he defeated Silva, which reveals the man's stubbornness and unwillingness to evolve and learn from his errors. And so I see Sonnen going into a rematch doing the same things he did in their first meeting, because he truly believes he won that fight...
Silva is a man of many skills; he has showed us that he is unrestricted to one style. Unlike Sonnen, Silva adopts techniques from more than two disciplines; BJJ, Muay Thai, Karate, Boxing, Kung Fu just to name a few of which he has displayed. Anderson understands he was seconds away from losing his belt, partly due to his determination to defeat Sonnen via submission using Nogueira Jiu Jitsu. But it is the realisation that he was ‘almost' defeated that will persuade Anderson to change his style- this is key to a rematch victory. Examine Bernard Hopkins for example, constantly changing his style of fighting to suit his age (currently 46 years old). It is this mentality that allowed him to win the WBC and The Ring Light Heavy weight championship. Shane Mosley on the other hand, refuses to change his style to accommodate his aging body (age 40), which is the reason why he performed so poorly in his last three bouts.
I see Sonnen coming into a rematch with the same strategy and style whereas Silva will enter a rematch with a different approach and newly found motivation to fight. My prediction; considering Sonnen's preference to wrestle, most of the battle will be on the ground, and so expect a repeat of their first encounter. Silva to win via submission!
13 October, 2011