Shogun vs. Sonnen: Just Days Away, Lets Take A Look At It.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Chael Sonnen are the main event for the first ever card in Boston, Massachusetts. This is a very interesting fight. Both fighters have been around a long time and have very different skill sets.
This fight comes down to which fighter is able to implement their style. Shogun is a well rounded fighter; he has very dangerous stand-up, and a strong submission game. Chael is the opposite; he wants to put shogun on his back and grind him out with his high level wrestling and unrelenting style.
This fight gets interesting because what Chael does he does very efficiently. He has a takedown percentage of 60%, and a striking percentage of 59% on the ground. It is also significant to point out that Shogun has avoided a dismal 34% of opponents takedown attempts. That makes Chael’s level of wrestling a huge problem for Shogun. When Chael gets on top
he is a relentless work horse and is almost impossible to get off.
Chael is not a known finisher. 16 of his 27 wins have come by decision. He is in terrific condition and will most certainly look to grind Shogun down with his top game. Conditioning is going to be a fairly significant advantage for Sonnen. Shogun has historically had a lot of issues with his conditioning, and it has cost him on more than one occasion.
Chael also has the benefit of being in the octagon with arguably the two best fighters on the planet (Jon Jones and Anderson Silva) in his last two fights.
Shogun will have a very different game plan than Sonnen. Shogun is going to want to keep the fight standing striking is probably where Shogun will enjoy his biggest advantage. Shogun strikes at an impressive 56% while standing, compared to Sonnen’s 30%. This is a huge difference and a fairly large advantage for Shogun.
All 5 of Shogun’s wins in the UFC, and 18 of his 21 career wins have been by KO/TKO. He is a very good striker with a great killer instinct. Shogun also has a strong submission game we do not get to see it too much, but he is a Jiu Jitsu black belt. His ground skills may be his biggest asset in this fight. Sonnen has lost by submission in 8 of his 13 losses.
Shogun will also want to beat up the legs of Sonnen a bit. He will be able to take some of the explosiveness out of Sonnen’s takedown attempts. He will need to be very careful to make sure that he does not telegraph them, leaving himself open for a takedown.
There is no mystery when breaking down this fight:
Sonnen is going to want to engage as little as possible in a boxing/kickboxing match, and get it to the ground. He is going to have to mind his P’s and Q’s down there but should enjoy a sizable grappling advantage.
Shogun is going to want to keep the fight standing, and make it a boxing/kick boxing match. If he does end up on his back he is going to need to be very aggressive with submission attempts, making Chael very uncomfortable, and continually look for an opportunity to scramble back to his feet.
My prediction is a very close decision in Chael’s favour. Shogun’s takedown defence is not going to be good enough to fight off Sonnen’s repeated takedown attempts, and the way the judges score takedowns he is going to be able to win enough of the rounds to get the majority decision.