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Kevin Iole: Think February for Sonnen/Silva re-match and Anderson will mentally break down Vitor Belfort in a fight

By Zach Arnold | August 10, 2010

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Related: Only in fighting can you lie about your opponent and become a big babyface overnight

In that Torch article, three possibilities are discussed next for the UFC Middleweight title picture — book the Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen re-match, give Vitor Belfort his title match against Anderson Silva, or book Sonnen and Belfort in a #1 challenger’s fight and let the winner face Anderson in 2011.

I definitely want to hear your thoughts about how you would rank each possibility.

In this conversation between Yahoo Sports MMA writers Kevin Iole & Steve Cofield, there’s plenty of discussion about how injured both Sonnen and Silva are, why Vitor Belfort doesn’t stand much of a chance against Anderson Silva, and how much stronger the interest will be for a rematch from the UFC 117 main event.

Transcript in full-page mode.

STEVE COFIELD: “Sonnen was as high as +400 in Las Vegas. When I just put up a post a little while ago I called it a hail mary submission because that’s what it was if you want to talk about football terms and you do remember, I don’t know if you saw the tweet, and I talked to you before the fight about this, to go 25 minutes and not make one mistake where you let up for, you know, 30 seconds when you’re tired and I think that’s what happened is Chael got a little tired, he took a right to the face, he started covering up a little bit and he just got a little too stationary and a little too low in the full guard and he got caught.”

KEVIN IOLE: “Yes he did. And that’s the thing we talked about last week is that, you know, his biggest weakness was his submission defense. I mean it happened how many times before in similar fashion. Give Matt Lindland credit. I think his coach, you know, really helped him on working on that and he was almost textbook perfect most of the fight the way when he was fighting in the guard he doled out the punishment and avoided the submissions but, you know, ultimately that bugaboo caught him, you know. The fact that he’s getting better at that, though, I think is very interesting and that’s something that I think, you know, bodes well for his future because I think he can watch that, see what he did, you know, clearly he’s a much better fighter than he was a year ago or two years ago. Think back to those Paulo Filho fights, especially the first one where he got armbarred at the end of the first round. There was a little bit of controversy but clearly he got caught in that armbar and he was in a lot of pain and had no way out. So, you know, he’s a much better fighter today, Steve, and I think that, you know, you got to give Matt Lindland some of the credit for that and of course Chael for working so hard.”

STEVE COFIELD: “Well, and Chael’s a tough match-up, too. I mean, you can compare to one of the other original Team Quest guys and that’s Randy Couture. When Randy goes in there, maybe his striking’s not great but it’s gotten better but it’s that element of, hey as an opponent I got to worry about my legs in getting taken down so actually my stand-up gets worse and you could see Silva really couldn’t commit. He threw a couple of wild shots but he’d get himself caught or he wouldn’t really throw with conviction. I think Sonnen, Kevin, at times got the better of the stand-up!”

KEVIN IOLE: “Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t even think that’s a question. I think of course he did. You know, I think we knew, Steve, going in that Chael’s style, except for the submission problem that he had, you know was THE style to beat Anderson Silva. That’s why when Dan Henderson fought Anderson a lot of people though, OK, this is the fight where Anderson’s reign’s going to be over and he did have a tough first round but he came back in the second round. However, you know, Chael just wasn’t perceived to be at the level of Dan Henderson but I think, you know, he took what Dan Henderson did and took it to another level. Just, you know, that is what you need to do to beat Anderson Silva. I don’t think you’re going to stand there and slug with him. I don’t see anybody in MMA, even Vitor Belfort, I mean I think, you know, Anderson would break Vitor mentally, you know, I just believe that with all my heart I think that Vitor would succumb and Anderson would knock him out. You know, the fight will probably happen at some point, even if Anderson gets by Chael in a re-match or potentially it maybe the next one but… you know I think that Vitor as a striker would just not be able to compete with Anderson but to beat Anderson Silva, you got to do what Chael Sonnen did for 23 minutes on Saturday night.”

STEVE COFIELD: “So, going into these press conferences, the post-fight press conferences, and I’ve been at dozens of them, they’re always interesting because the media will try to get Dana White’s thoughts and the fighters’ thoughts. I mean, you know, minutes after this great fight went down and they have no idea and sometimes it’ll be thrown out there, WE’RE GOING TO DO A REMATCH, and then you know cooler heads prevail, they think through promotionally what’s best. What is best here? Can they afford to slip in Belfort, let Sonnen not fight or fight someone else? Can they risk that with so much on the line in a re-match and so much money?”

KEVIN IOLE: “Well, you know, I think a re-match would be best, frankly, Steve. You know, sometimes it’s not always the case. I think in this case it would be the best because there’s so much public interest in this and I think it’s gone and in this case it’s gone beyond the MMA public. I think it expands, you know, I did all the serious radio interviews subsequent to the fight with a lot of big stations in major markets and, you know, I think that’s indicative of the fact that Chael Sonnen got their attention, you know, I think most people thought he was going to get squashed but, you know, he spoke so well and so passionately before the fight. People watched it. He backed up the hype, I mean, you know, forget that he got submitted, I mean, he did what he said he was going to do. He went in there and pounded on Anderson Silva for 20-some minutes, did a terrific job, and just Anderson Silva’s great, you know, well-rounded game saved him at the very end. You know, I think a re-match is definitely called for but if it doesn’t happen, I will say this — I think Anderson has become more of a draw than he was before because, you know, it was like a career-defining victory for him. You know, you’re kind of like Kirk Gibson on one leg in the World Series and you’re barely able to hobble and you come back and you pull out that win. I think that just elevates your stature, so no matter who he would fight I think he’s going to be bigger than he was going into this fight. You notice nobody’s talking about UFC 112 (Abu Dhabi) now? I mean, a lot of people were really angry at Anderson after UFC 112 and that terrible performance and goofing around. Sonnen got people to forget that before the fight, Anderson got them to forget about it the way he hung in there and the way he came back.”

STEVE COFIELD: “Re-match, timing-wise, though. Both guys took a beating. You know, it’s funny — Sonnen obviously, facially, doesn’t take shots as well as Silva. Silva’s face was blown up but not, you know, it wasn’t awful. I mean he didn’t look like Anderson Silva but Sonnen really took a beating, but you’re saying you think Silva, you know, deep down, he really did get beat up and this may be a fight they can’t book until what, December, January, or February?”

KEVIN IOLE: “I’m thinking, you know, I think February. I mean, I just think you know you got to give them… you know Anderson’s a guy who fought three-to-four months out, you know, every time three-to-four months and that’s kind of, unless he’s been injured, and that’s been what he’s been on. I think he needs a little bit more rest than that because, I mean, he just took a pummeling, you know he got slammed down to the mat repeatedly and then, you know, he was carrying Sonnen’s weight and Sonnen was firing elbows and punches and I mean his whole body took a beating and I just think that’s one where he’s 35 years old, don’t forget that. That’s not one that you come over lightly. I mean, you know, some people think, oh if you get knocked out that that’s worse, you know, a lot of times if you get knocked out it’s one punch, you’re down, your count of ten, you’re better a little bit later. But in this one, you know, when you take that prolonged type of beating like he did with so many blows, I think it you know requires your body to rest. Chael had a pretty big cut, you know, on the eyebrow so that tends to be an area that will heal. You know, but I think that’s going to have to heal for Chael to be able to fight so I think, you know, we’re looking at a little bit longer time frame so you know maybe their Super Bowl card might be one that the re-match could pop onto.”

STEVE COFIELD: “Boy, and I’m looking forward to it because Chael, there was no ‘hey, we’re good buddies now, everything’s great, it was just for the fight.’ After the fight, Chael was like, ‘nope, I’d fight him right now, I’m not apologizing,’ and now he has even MORE to promote the next time around.”

KEVIN IOLE: “Right. You know, now he has 23 minutes and 49 seconds of evidence that, you know, he can back up what he says and… you know, it’s kind of, you know, I think a good thing. You know, I think that the whole circumstance will be different the next time around and I don’t think Chael will take the same tact. I think he’ll have something for Anderson but I think the fun of that one will be: What does he do the next time around?”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “Kevin Iole: Think February for Sonnen/Silva re-match and Anderson will mentally break down Vitor Belfort in a fight”

  1. Keith Harris says:

    Apparently you’re an MMA clown Zach, if you consider doing anything other than booking an immediate rematch.

  2. Dave says:

    Yeah, sometimes I really can’t stand these guys.

    Here is how I see it; Edgar’s win over BJ was disputed. Lyoto’s win over Shogun was disputed. Those get rematches.

    Silva finished Sonnen. Sonnen should, theoretically, face Vitor, winner gets winner of Okami/Anderson.

    But yeah, immediate rematches!

    • Steve4192 says:

      Silva-Sonnen 1 is being rumored to have pulled in nearly a million PPV buys. If that number holds up, I really can’t blame Zuffa for striking while the iron is hot and booking a rematch. If they wait and Sonnen goes on a losing skid (which is very possible given his awful submission defense), that fight goes down the tubes.

      Sonnen might not deserve a rematch based on what happened in the cage, but he sure as hell earned one at the box office.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    With fighters being injured and banged up, the right answer might have to do with who is healthy.

    In an injury free world, I would like to see either Silva/Sonnen 2 or a card with Silva/Belfort and Sonnen/Top Contender. Of course, Sonnen would be only 1 win away from getting back to the title fight based on his last performance.

    Either way, as long as the champion is fighting top guys and Sonnen doesn’t have to take a very long track back to the title, I don’t see any fault in various ways of booking this thing.

  4. Jemaleddin says:

    Good lord. Iole claims that Chael was “almost textbook perfect” with his submission defense? His right arm sat there on Anderson’s chest with Anderson getting wrist control for half the fight. The fact that he was strong enough to get out of trouble until he got rocked by a punch from the bottom (how often does that happen?) doesn’t negate that he was sloppy and got caught.

    If Silva hadn’t been rocked in the first round he could have finished Sonnen the same way then.

    • Dave says:

      He is a boxing guy, don’t expect much.

    • edub says:

      I didn’t even look to me like Anderson had the Triangle locked in. I know the armbar seemed to cause the sub, but you would think a guy who is on his way to beating the best fighter in the world(not to mention has a history of being subbed out) would fight a little harder than that to brake free.

  5. aim says:

    You know, I counted 46 “you know’s” from Iole this time during, what, a four minute bit? Hes progressively getting worse during these bits with Cofield.

    • Vic Mackey says:

      Yes, but what about these quasi-literate gems:

      “You know, I think we knew”,

      “I mean I think, you know”,

      “Well, you know, I think”,

      “you know, he can back up what he says and… you know, it’s kind of, you know”,

      and the the greatest ever :

      “I’m thinking, you know, I think February. I mean, I just think you know”!

      All gold, Jerry!

      • matthew says:

        You know one thing that bugs me me is Cofield calling the Triangle/Armbar combo a “Hail Mary” submission. Are you kidding? Except for a guy shooting and getting his head caught in a guillotine, there is no such thing.Even then The applier(grammar?)of the choke still has to have the pressence of mind to apply the choke. Submissions are set up well before they happen. Anybody who says they watch MMA knows this. Silva set it up, worked for it and got it. No fluke.

  6. Matthew says:

    I am not one for immediate rematch unless it was ended due to cuts or illegal blows. Other then that I think it should be a 1 fight back to title is it was close like this fight.

    The onlt reason why I want to see a rematch is because of Silva making, or as he said not making, the excuse of have a rib injury. If he truly was hurt and thats why he could throw his hand right or got taken down so easy then I would like to see a healthy Silva vs Shonnen. I also think in the second fight Chael would be more careful on the ground.

  7. David M says:

    I have thought for a long time that Vitor would beat Anderson and I have even more confidence in that prediction now, even though Anderson was clearly not 100% in the fight. Vitor has much better hands than Anderson does, he is a fantastic wrestler, and he is a better athlete than Anderson. Chael landed a lot of punches flush but doesn’t have that much pop; Vitor has 1 punch power and much more hand speed and accuracy with his punches than Chael does.

    In terms of Vitor’s wrestling, I hope people don’t forget how good he is at that. He took down prime Liddell multiple times in their fight and probably would have won that fight if not for Liddell’s lucky left hook (if I recall correctly) that dropped him in the final minute or so and swayed the judges’ scorecards. He was robbed against Tito, and his loss to Saku was clearly a work. His only legit losses are to Ubereem, Couture, and Hendo.

    Couture and Hendo beat him because they are both relentless and could outwrestle him and were physically rougher than he is; Anderson presents no such problem. Vitor has really good power in his double leg and better hands than Anderson; I don’t recall him having a chin problem either, so I’m not really sure how Anderson wins, because he damn sure isn’t going to submit Vitor.

    • matthew says:

      Do you really think that Belfort is mentally strong enough to overcome the challenge that is Anderson Siva’s overall technique? Has Vitor won a championship fight anytime in the last few years?

      • David M says:

        Anderson isn’t a pressure fighter; he is a counter striker who preys on slower athletes and embarrasses them. Vitor has better hands, is faster, physically stronger, has excellent takedowns, and I just don’t see Anderson as being the kind of guy who gives Vitor problems.

        • matthew says:

          I see Vitor trying to employ his new found Karate training in his stand-up. This plan will backfire because Anderson will spar with Lyoto to prepare. Yes your point about Silva being a counter fighter is true and he will counter the hell out of belfort

  8. Zack says:

    LOL @ Vitor/Sak being a work

  9. klown says:

    Why, oh why, have all the ‘you know’s returned???

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