Anderson Silva was supposed to teach Chael Sonnen a lesson Saturday night and move on to defend his middleweight title against Vitor Belfort sometime this fall. That picture however became unquestionably cloudy when Sonnen put his money where his mouth was and dominated Anderson Silva for 22 straight minutes.
Now the question the UFC has to answer is, do we move forward according to plan or call an audible and book the immediate rematch while the iron’s still hot?
Well, we certainly know what Chael Sonnen wants, but what about Anderson Silva? Ed Soares says he sees both sides of the immediate rematch argument, but seems to struggle with the idea of giving Chael another shot when he failed to close the deal the first time.
“There’s a part of me that thinks that it would make a lot of sense to do a rematch. I don’t know where [the UFC’s] head’s at, and what they want to do. But on the other hand I feel like, you know what? He had his opportunity.”
“The way I look at it is, Chael fought his fight. And Chael had Anderson on his back for twenty-two minutes of that fight. …The way I feel is that Chael had Anderson in the position he wanted him, and if he wasn’t able to finish Anderson in twenty-two minutes in the position you said you wanted him in, then, hey man, you had your shot. No offense, not saying you can’t get another shot, but you know what I mean?”
Not that it matters though because they’re going to do whatever the UFC wants anyways.
Soares said he hadn’t yet spoken to UFC president Dana White about who might get the next shot at Silva’s title, but added that, “it doesn’t matter what I want or what Anderson wants. It’s what the UFC wants.”
Meanwhile, Vitor Belfort, probably sensing that his title shot might be slipping away, hit Twitter and openly promised Dana White he would deliver “the fight of the century.”
There’s no easy answer in this debate. On one hand, this wasn’t a situation where Sonnen got robbed by the judges. Even though he dominated the fight, he lost. That’s an undeniable fact. So in that sense, yeah, Chael should at least have to go out and get a win before getting another chance. But on the other hand, the last time Vitor Belfort won a middleweight fight was 18 months ago in Affliction. Kind of hard to say he deserves it more than Sonnen after what Chael just did to Anderson. Then of course, there’s also the dark horse, Yushin Okami, lingering in the shadows. So, while there aren’t any clear cut answers, there aren’t really any wrong answers either. There’s definitely worse positions to be in.
If the immediate rematch is chosen, the next question will be, will we see the same fight? Or more specifically, will we see the same Anderson Silva? Anderson clearly didn’t perform like the masterful striker we’ve seen in the past, but was that because Chael did a brilliant job of beating him to the punch on the feet and shutting him down on the ground or did that rib injury Silva mentioned in the post-fight interview have something to do it? That’s a difficult question to answer, but after listening to Ed Soares elaborate on the injury, it certainly sounds like it was at least a little bit of the latter.
It was really close because the doctors didn’t want him to fight. He hurt his rib last Friday in sparring. He hurt it, but he didn’t think it was hurt that bad and then Sunday morning, I had about 13 missed calls in a matter of 25 minutes. They were all from Anderson and he was calling me to tell me he was in pain. He couldn’t breathe. I took him to the hospital and they X-Rayed each rib and they noticed that it was a bit swollen, but there was no fracture. They said it was bruised ribs, but the way he reacted when they touched it and how tender they were, they said it was in the muscle as well as the bruise. I’m not a doctor, but this is just what they told us. They prescribed some Ibuprofen 800 for him because it was so close to the fight, they couldn’t do any Vicodin. The doctors said, “I really don’t recommend that he fights,” but Anderson said, “No man, the show must go on. I’m going to fight.” I put it this way, he was supposed to corner Mark Munoz on Sunday for his fight against Okami, but I made him stay at home in bed. He was just lying around and letting his ribs heal up on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday because we traveled. He didn’t train again until we got to Oakland. He gave his ribs about a 5-day rest.
I hate the post-fight injury excuse explanation as much as the next guy, but this is Anderson Silva, not Tito Ortiz. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt, don’t you think?
I’m a Nogueira brothers black belt, and I’d give my life for them. I say that and I don’t need to patronize them nor them me. Rodrigo is my master and Rogério is a brother and teacher to me. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today. I decided to put on the gi as a tribute to them and for the things I’d said. I told Rodrigo I’d get the submission this fight. I told him that. Everything worked out yet again.
Guess that means Team Black House got the last laugh after all.
Update: Anderson Silva’s BJJ coach says Anderson will be out of commission until February or March of next year due to a cracked rib.
“After the first round he said he broke his ribs. He said told me he could not breath because of the rib. I told him to forget the rib and work the movement of legs and he would get the triangle… After the fight he went to the hospital and did an x-ray and the doctor said he did not break it, it was just a crack,” he said.
“Anderson is expected to return in February or March. We have not talked, but he has to take care of injuries, he fought twice last year and had an operation on his elbow. This year he made two more fights and now with this rib injury … He is no longer a boy, he is 34 years old.”
Belfort vs. Sonnen or Belfort vs. Okami in the meantime?