All, I will be an analyst for FUEL TVs weigh in, prefight, and post fight show this weekend in Vegas. I figured I would send out my breakdown of the Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen fight via my Gaspari Nutrition Blog
. First off, I had the pleasure of training with Chael for this fight before I was injured, which gives me a unique perspective. This fight will be won or lost based on two simple principles, pace & space, along with ever-present X Factors. Anderson is the most precise striker in the history of the sport and can end a fight at any moment. His ability to land those strikes will be dependant on his ability to create the space necessary to do so. Chael's gameplan is the same always, immediate and constant pressure followed by relentess takedowns and ground & pound. Anderson had a lot of difficulty creating space and angles in their first matchup due to Chaels pressure. Chael is an underrated athlete (can do back flips, front flips, great vertical leap, etc) and he is much quicker than people give him credit for. His quickness makes his pressure unique, which in turn limits the space a striker has to land devastating blows. Anderson has had ample time to reflect on the first fight, and watch Chael's fight with both me and Bisping since then. I expect Anderson to be much better prepared to deal with Chael's pressure. Look for the champion to move early and often similar to what Bisping did. Chael's double leg is like a missile, once locked on it is tough to stop because he will re-shoot continuously. In their first fight, Chael caugh Anderson several times with his feet in odd positions, resulting in quick takedowns. I expect Anderson to have trained his movement and ensure he is in position to defend takedowns anywhere. That being said, Chael never plans to shoot once, he is always prepared to shoot multiple shots to get someone down. Anderson has to use his movement to create space, while Chael will look to suffocate him bell to bell.
Pace. One of the things to stood out to me when training with Chael was the pace he is able to fight at. On sparring days we would actually do 11 hard rounds, which is ridiculous. Everyone would sit out a round or two here or there except for Chael. Chael would relentlessly pressure every round, shooting multiple times and use ground strikes continuously. Out of all the fighters I have ever trained with, none have the cardio that Chael possesses. That being said, if Anderson can create space, then he can also dictate the pace of the fight. Anderson's set-ups for his combinations are by far the best in MMA. With enough space Anderson can fake & feint at will, keeping Chael guessing and forcing poor shots from a distance. The pace of this fight will depend on who is controlling the space.
When the fight hits the ground, the same two principles will apply. Anderson has to create space in order to get up from under Chael or execute a submission. Look for Anderson to counter Chael's relentless pace of ground strikes with his own continuous submission attempts. Anderson did not attempt many submissions in their first fight, I doubt that will be the case this time as Chael has lost by submission before.
X Factors. There are some factors that can change the outlook of this fight immediately. One factor is the submission game, several times Chael has been dominating a fight only to fall victim to a submission. I know Chael has been training with World-Class submission specialists since his first loss to Anderson, and this is the most improved aspect of his game. The main X Factor I believe lies in Anderson's striking. Anderson can obvoiusly knock anyone out, but he can also injure someone too, which also changes a fight. If Anderson lands a strike that injures Chael, that can totally change who dictates the pace and space in this fight. Chael's game revolves around those two things, and when he dictates them he normally wins. So there is my opinion on this fight, I hope you all enjoy the entire card! This will be one of the most talked about fights for years to come. Have a great 4th of July and see you fight night.