Last night at the UFC’s Fight Night 26 event airing from Boston, resident trash talker extraordinaire Chael Sonnen took out opponent Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua with a deep guillotine choke in the opening round. Sonnen showed that he can hang with and beat Light Heavyweight competition not named Jon Jones, and with this being the first fight of a freshly inked contract for Sonnen, we are sure to see him fed a steady diet of Brazilians in his next few fights.
For ‘Shogun’ Rua, this makes 2 losses in a row and 3 losses in his last 4 fights, which effectively signals his loss of relevance in the 205lb division. Rua was talking about using a win over Sonnen to catapult himself back into a title shot, but that is obviously not going to happen. Rua, at just 31 years of age, is already showing the wear and tear of a fighter on the decline. His last two losses (against Alexander Gustafsson and Dan Henderson) were wars, and even his last win, against Brandon Vera, turned into a battle of attrition. Perhaps a fight for ‘Shogun’ next against rising Phil Davis might keep him relevant a bit longer, but Rua is nearing the end of his stay as a top Light Heavyweight. As for Sonnen, he immediately called out Rua’s long time training partner Wanderlei Silva, a fighter he has had a long history of talking smack against. Shortly after the conclusion of the fight, another Brazilian, Vitor Belfort challenged Sonnen. Sonnen has made himself a very unpopular figure in Brazil, as he took his gloves off during the build up to his Anderson Silva fights and spoke bad about Silva and country repeatedly. As a consequence of his win over Rua, who was the first Brazilian to get a crack at shutting Sonnen up since, the guys are lining up down there. The UFC will likely have Sonnen face both Belfort and Silva. If the UFC is smart, they will hold off on making the Belfort fight, and give Sonnen the Silva fight first. To make it interesting, have the Wanderlei Silva vs Chael Sonnen match in Brazil. Sonnen, to his credit, does not shy away from hard work, and will likely take the fight to add another headlining gig to his resume. Last night, at the UFC in Boston, several Massachusetts natives (Mike Brown, Joe Lauzon) went down, showing that the home field advantage in the US is not as important as going to Brazil and winning. Sonnen would relish the shot at breaking the Brazilian home field advantage. And that would set up a match with Belfort nicely. The title picture at Middleweight has changed, and both men would likely lobby for a shot at the title with a win. It depends if Anderson Silva is able to re-capture the belt he held for so long from Chris Weidman, or if Weidman still has the title. Weidman-Belfort is a solid match if it happens, but if Sonnen beats Belfort, and Silva regains the belt at Middleweight, we could very well be looking at Silva vs Sonnen 3. At any rate, the future looks to be very Brazilian for the Oregon Gangsta.