The illustrious Chael Sonnen (27-13-1) has again used his sly tongue, keen self marketing, and deep fan base to book himself another landmark fight. He will face the legendary Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (21-7) at "UFC on FOX Sports 1 1: Shogun vs. Sonnen", which takes place August 17th at Boston's TD Garden.
Sonnen had campaigned for the matchup when it was announced that Rua's original opponent, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5), was removed from the UFC 161 fight card due to a back injury. He flew to Twitter to post "@ShogunRua I HEAR BRAZILIAN CHICKEN IS OFF THE MENU. AMERICAN GANGSTER IS STILL AVAILABLE IF YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR WAITRESS OVER". It was classic Chael Sonnen banter, yielding classic Chael Sonnen results. The fight was booked, scratched via Visa issues, and then rebooked for the upcoming Boston card. Just seven weeks after his failed title bid against light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones (18-1), Sonnen has worked his way into a headliner slot against a veteran contender.
Sonnen vs. Rua will hold great importance in not only the light heavyweight rankings, but in the future careers of two MMA superstars. A loss for Sonnen will make three in a row, something that has not happened in his career since 2004. His last loss without a title on the line was back in 2009. A loss to Rua would not diminish the West Linn resident's career. It would, however, put a blemish on his built hype. Rua would amazingly enough see back-to-back defeats for the first time in his 10+ year career with a loss. With that said, Rua has been alternating between wins and losses for the past four years. A loss would be a big setback for both fighters simply because they are both nearing the end of their fight careers. Sonnen is 36 years old and Shogun's knees lose agility between every fight. So who holds the edge? I asked a couple of the pros and this is what they think:
-UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson: "I am honestly excited for it. Been a fan of Shogun since the pride days".
-MMA Veteran Matt "Suave" Horwich: "Hopefully Chael will go on like he did against Anderson the first time and do really well…"
-UFC Lightweight Pat "Bam Bam" Healy: "I think Chael uses his wrestling to grind out a decision."
Chael has my vote, as well. I believe he will be able to grind out a 29-28 unanimous decision, hand Rua his first two fight losing streak, and then surprise us all by calling out Fedor Emelianenko (34-4) for a super fight at the Cowboy Stadium. Mark my words.