Saturday night is looking to be a phenomenal night of fights from top to bottom. Although I am excited to see every fight on the card that night, headlining the event are MMA stars Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and The American Gangster, Chael Sonnen. Both fighters are veterans with a ton of experience and the main event is certainly not expected to disappoint. So let’s take a look at how these two warriors match up.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua may not be the most successful UFC fighter ever standing at 5-5 but at 21-7 overall in his professional career he is certainly a legend in the sport. Mauricio is a phenomenal striker and a black-belt in Jiu-Jitsu who has been in some of the most brutal fights in MMA history. Shogun is incredibly difficult to finish and always fights his heart out. Saturday’s fight with Chael Sonnen will be a very difficult test for Shogun. Chael comes every fight in great shape and the pace he sets should be difficult for Shogun to match considering the conditioning issues we have seen him have in recent fights. It is worth noting that Chael has spent most of his career at 185lbs and so with this fight being at 205lbs the weight cut should be a bit easier for Sonnen which might put even more gas in his tank than we are used to seeing.
Shogun has always been a very difficult opponent to stand with, as there are few better kick boxers than him when he is able to stand at range and deliver boxing and kicking combinations. With that said Chael is incredibly skilled at pressuring opponents and so look for Shogun to try to dictate range with his jab and executing elbow and knee strikes when Chael inevitably gets into the pocket. If Sonnen stands and tries to exchange strikes he could be in for a long night as Shogun has a serious kicking and power advantage. Shogun is only 31 years old but has been in some of MMA’s biggest wars and so it will be interesting to see how his body will react to the pressure of Sonnen. If there is one thing that Shogun can take into this fight it is the confidence in knowing that he is incredibly tough and Chael will likely not be able to finish him. Can Shogun catch him with a power shot or a submission in 25 minutes? Only time will tell!
Chael Sonnen, the former All-American wrestler at the University of Oregon is looking to make a statement Saturday night to prove that he can put on as impressive of a performance inside the octagon as he can in the media. Sonnen currently stands at 27-13-1 in his professional career and 5-4 in the UFC. He has received a ton of criticism because he is currently on a two-fight losing streak but let’s not forget those two loses came against Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, two of the best fighters ever! Sonnen is an incredible wrestler with great boxing skills and his ability to press forward, get on top, and continue to put on pressure is second to none. Aside from Sonnen’s wrestling, his conditioning will be his biggest advantage against Shogun so look for him to push the pace and get Shogun tired.
This weekend look for Sonnen to do what he does best; push forward and get inside with his boxing skills and then hunt for a takedown. Although Sonnen does not have the most devastating ground and pound the pressure that he puts on and his ability to continue to work from top position is devastating. Considering Shogun has become known for his conditioning issues, Chael’s pressure and continued action will pose a ton of problems for him. Chael is incredibly effective against opponents that he can out-wrestle although with 8 of his 13 pro losses coming by submission he is always playing a dangerous game sitting in the guard for the majority of his fights. Considering Shogun has not submitted anybody since October of 2006 and will likely be lacking a bit in the gas tank it seems probable that Sonnen will be able to effectively land ground strikes while avoiding dangerous positions on the ground.