UFC on FOX 2 – Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping Preview

One one hand, it’s a shame that Mark Munoz suffered an injury that took him out of a high level fight. But on the other hand, it leads to a much more intriguing fight, both inside and outside the cage. Both fighters have such huge personalities that tend to polarize the MMA fanbase.  So this is a fight that is going to have a lot of emotional investment from the fans.

It’s been almost two years since Bisping’s last loss, which he suffered at the hands of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110. Bisping insists he won that fight, even though he was dropped and almost finished twice (first by guillotine and second by strikes – Bisping was saved by the bell on both occasions). Since then he put a beating on the sympathetic fighter in MMA, Dan Miller, before going on to beat the sexiest fighter in MMA, Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama. He then had a huge war of words with Jorge Rivera for a fight that was scheduled at UFC 127. Rivera was on a decent streak of wins, but it was clear that Bisping was a higher level of fighter and he put a beating on him in a controversial fight. He was then put on to be a coach on the final Spike TV season of TUF, a season that could be considered the best action packed season of the series. In December 2011, he easily beat Jason “Mayhem” Miller on a fight that Dana White called the most one sided fight in UFC history. Which is silly, there have been way more one sided fights, but it was still a good win for Bisping.

The career of Chael Sonnen has been an amazing odyssey over the course of many years and promotions. His first UFC run was highlighted by him being a victim to the grappling techniques of Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Jeremy Horn. He would go on to fight in Bodog and WEC before finally making his way back to the UFC. He suffered a loss to Demian Maia in Maia’s greatest UFC performance. That performance featured Maia hitting a beautiful lateral drop then transitioning to a triangle choke for the victory. Since that loss, Sonnen bounced back beating Dan Miller and Yushin Okami. He was then scheduled to fight the consesus number two middleweight at UFC 109.

By this point in time, Sonnen was already starting to do his act and was starting to get some attention. Most figured that Marquardt was going to walk away with the win and get a rematch with Anderson Silva. What ended up happening was far more interesting, as Sonnen had a war with Marquardt on the ground that lead to Sonnen winning via decision in the fight of the night. After that, Sonnen took his act and made it as outrageous as possible in route to a fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 117. He did everything he promised he would do in that fight, but Silva was able to have a miraculous comeback late in the final round of the fight. After a year layoff due to failing a post-fight drug test, Sonnen emerged back at UFC 136 where he fought rising star Brian Stann. Sonnen showed an improved submission game as a defeated Stann via arm triangle and then called out Silva in one of the great challenges in UFC history.

If it’s on the feet, Bisping will have the advantage but let’s not pretend like Bisping has any sort of power that will finish Sonnen. Sonnen has one of the best chins in MMA, and while Bisping is a good striker, he doesn’t have that sort of power. Bisping is really good at defensive grappling, he’s good at getting the fight back up on his feet as evident in his fights with Rashad Evans, Dan Miller and Jason Miller. But I can’t help but feel that Sonnen is a much better MMA-wrestler than any of those guys. Not sure if Sonnen can finish him, but Sonnen should manhandle him and pound him badly. If Sonnen beats him, it will be his second title defense of his “West Linn, Oregon-rules” UFC title…

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