A War of Words: Sonnen vs. Bisping Preview

This weekend’s UFC on FOX 2 card in Chicago, IL will showcase a high-profile bout between Chael Sonnen and Michael “The Count” Bisping as the co-main event.  After Mark Munoz was injured his elbow in training, Bisping moved in to take his place against Sonnen. This short notice has made the anticipation suffer due to a lack of time to build up back-and –forth hype that would have most likely reached a fever pace considering the two combatants. Without a doubt, the fight will be a showcase piece of a card that almost guarantees to help the UFC move towards the goal of becoming a mainstream sport worldwide.  Each fighter has proved their skills repeatedly in the Octagon over time, and the winner will find himself atop the list of contenders for the UFC Middleweight championship.

Bisping and Sonnen have been hyping up the fight on short notice, with their well-known talents on the mic making them arguably the most notorious fighters in the UFC today. The two fighters will bring contrasting styles of martial arts to the cage on Saturday, and both have shown to be extremely good at what they specialize in. What remains to be seen is how these two styles will clash and what exactly will prevail. 

Chael Sonnen made huge waves in the summer of 2010 during the build-up and subsequent battle for the Middleweight championship with Anderson Silva. As many fans know, he was the only fighter to have recently taken Silva to such deep waters while dominating the fight with ground and pound, only to lose the bout at the last minute due to a triangle choke. He was found to have failed the pre-fight drug screening with highly elevated levels of testosterone, and while he appealed his year-long suspension on the grounds of using TRT therapy, he was ultimately placed on the shelves for six months. He rebounded effectively with an impressive submission victory over feared Middleweight striker Brian Stann at UFC 136 last October, and proceeded to call out Silva for a rematch.

Prior to his newfound fame, Sonnen was an extremely dedicated and talented wrestler, which has formed the base for his punishing style that many fighters have been unable to overcome. Hailing from the Northwest, Sonnen earned a spot as an NCAA All – American while at the University of Oregon in 1998, finishing eighth in the nation that year. Sonnen has trained with many of the most decorated wrestlers in the game such as Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, and Matt Lindland at Team Quest to further his already impressive skills. He has translated these skills into a 26-11-1 record over the course of his MMA career, but it seems that submissions have been his kryptonite of sorts, having suffered eight of his eleven total losses by tapout.

Across the cage from Sonnen, Michael Bisping will await, attempting to use his well-known kickboxing prowess to derail the hype train that is Chael Sonnen. Bisping at first struggled to make it as a fighter in England, having worked many blue-collar to jobs to fund his training before finding success in kickboxing rings, becoming a regional champion in England before taking it to the next level in the Octagon.

A former winner of the Ultimate Fighter, he became only the second Light Heavyweight to obtain the honor and parlayed this opportunity into an impressive 14-0 record to start his MMA career. He holds victories over fighters such as Dan Miller, Denis Kang, Chris Leben, and Yoshihiro Akiyama, and most recently defeated Jason “Mayhem” Miller with a one-sided TKO at the TUF 14 finale on December 3, 2011. Having compiled an impressive 22-3 MMA record currently, Bisping has only been beaten by Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson, and Wanderlei Silva, with the only finish at the hands of Henderson. While Bisping does possess excellent, crisp, and precise striking, it still remains to be seen if he can defeat a truly top-level fighter in the UFC. Bisping will get his chance to prove this on Saturday in Chicago, and has recently proclaimed that if Sonnen does take him down as planned, he will submit him. While not being known for high-level submissions, he does train with many seasoned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts.

With the talents of both fighters well-known, the focus of this fight will revolve around the age-old debate of striker versus wrestler. Bisping has shown that he is very well on his way to becoming a well-rounded fighter, staving off both takedowns and submissions alike on the way to winning eight out of his last ten bouts. Sonnen has proved that his wrestling is at the top of the game right now, but this has tended to overshadow his deficiencies in the striking and submission aspects of mixed martial arts. It is fully expected that Sonnen will take the fight down to the ground to attempt a finish there, but will his ground-and-pound attack be enough to TKO Bisping? Has Bisping’s ground game improved enough to negate the obvious wrestling prowess of Sonnen? As fans, we could have seen quite the build-up to this bout with more time, but this fight should nonetheless deliver on all fronts. With a title shot at the coveted Middleweight belt at stake, expect both fighters to leave it all in the Octagon on Saturday.

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  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Nick.mich/ nick.mich

    If the fight happens to be at the same level as their trash talk, we’re talking about a war!!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/The-Mangler/ The Mangler

    They both aren’t new to the chirpping game. lmfao. This fight has the makings of an epic battle. The skill sets mixed with all the trash talk and hype…….what mma fan isnt down to watch this?!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/DKMcGrath/ DKMcGrath

    Gyeah and it don’t stop!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/TheRealDeal/ TheRealDeal

    Sonnen can only beat himself in this one. If he goes out and does what he did to Stann by fighting his type of fight then Bisping has little to no chance. Put him down repeatedly and G&P him into the mat. If he stands and trades with Bisping the whole time then Bisping could possibly squeak out one of his lame ass sparring decisions.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Milt/ Milt

    mr 187 on a mothafockin cooooooop!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Toxic/ toxic

    and how often do you see sonnen winning by KO our submission???

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Paulol/ Paulol

    this one has points decision written all over it. bisping is a run away and jab type of fighter and sonnen has pillow hands

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Featherweight/ Featherweight

    I hate this fight. If Bisping wins, we all know how he’ll fare against Anderson, and if Chael wins, we got 6 more months of his “I’m the greatest who ever lived” talk.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Mauromina/ mauromina

    on the article says that chaels submission defence and striking is really poor. i agree on the submission part but on striking he is ok… remember that he knocked AS twice when they fought

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Mike-Drahota/ Mike Drahota

    That he did, but people tend to forget that he possessed testosterone levels that were 17 times that of a normal man during that fight. He also hit Anderson with 320 strikes, and if you are truly that strong, you should TKO ANY fighter on the earth with over 300 shots.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Nemesis/ Nemesis

    it was only 4 times higher…but still. Oh yea, and the rib injury, but oddly chael nuthuggers dont believe that anderson can be hurt…

    Probably because he gets hurt BEFORE he fights ?

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/Nemesis/ Nemesis

    Wow miesha tate sure looks hot in that picture…

    Oh yea, good fight guys. Not much time for trashtalk and i’m still about “meh”about the whole match…but good fight

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/JTalbain/ JTalbain

    In the UFC, every time he fights Brian Stann. And only then.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/JTalbain/ JTalbain

    I actually like either outcome. If Bisping wins, he’s defensively proficient enough with striking that Silva wouldn’t be able to clown him, and he’d have to display his phenomenal striking abilities to beat him (which I do think he would), but it would force Silva to make it an exciting fight rather than a circus. If Sonnen wins, I get to watch him lose more definitively than last time and see him drop from the title picture forever. I see it as a win-win.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/JTalbain/ JTalbain

    Chael’s striking is good for a professional fighter, but it isn’t high level UFC quality for sure. When he fought Maia (pre Maia training with JDS), if anything he only had a very slight edge in the striking department. I think him doing as well as he did in the striking department had more to do with his testosterone levels, aggressive strategy (which more people should have against Silva), and Anderson’s broken ribs.

    Chael did show, however, that Silva is vulnerable in those opening moments before he’s had time to set up and find his range. If they ever want Silva to lose, they need to throw him up against someone like Houston Alexander, who blitzes everybody and decides all his fights one way or another in about 30 seconds. How crazy would it be if Silva lost to Alexander?

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/JTalbain/ JTalbain

    16.9 times normal levels rounds to 17, not 4.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/members/DKMcGrath/ DKMcGrath

    Stop sharping yourself we all can tell!