It is probably safe to say that Chael Sonnen is the most talked about man in MMA. He spent months talking and talking and talking, and it made people tune in.
Most said that he was all talk, but in his fight with Anderson Silva, he proved that he was for real.
After the fight he had a year of troubles, continued talk, and then returned against Brian Stann to impress once again.
He has now put himself in the position to get another shot at Silva, but due to injury he will have to wait. In the meantime he will face Mark Munoz, a man that defeated him in a wrestling match in college.
When you look at wrestling in MMA, it is much different than traditional wrestling. Most wrestling in MMA consists of striking to set up take downs, and once on the ground, solid top control can lead to more strikes and/or a submission.
Comparing both fighters, Munoz got the best of Sonnen in college, but in MMA it should end up differently.
Sonnen is really good at using his boxing to set up his take downs. People usually overlook his boxing and call him one dimensional because he usually wins with his excellent wrestling advantage.
The thing with that is, if something is working, then why change it? Once Sonnen gets a hold of his opponent, he is getting him down. Not many people can say that they can defend a Sonnen take down.
When Munoz faced Leben, he showed that, yes, his wrestling is good, but his take down defense is questionable.
Munoz uses his wrestling, but as of late he has tried to polish his striking so that he will be able to compete against and defeat the bigger names in the division.
Once Leben took Munoz down, Munoz was able to get up relatively quickly, but you must also remember that Leben isn't a quarter of the wrestler that Sonnen is.
Sonnen has great ground and pound, and his submission game is very underrated. People may laugh when I say his submission game is underrated, but it is true.
His only defeats by submission were to men who were some of the most elite grapplers in the sport, and there is zero shame whatsoever in losing to them.
In order for Munoz to win this fight he must play to his strengths. He must turn this into a wrestling match. If he is still a better wrestler than Sonnen, then he must prove it.
If he can take Sonnen off track early and dominate in the wrestling aspect, keeping Sonnen down and utilizing his top game, then he can get Sonnen into trouble. At the end of the day, no wrestler likes to be on their back.
If Munoz can take Sonnen away from his game plan and make him uncomfortable, then there is no doubt that Munoz will be getting a title shot.
The problem with that is, Munoz was not able to keep Leben down. Munoz is a great wrestler, but in the transition to MMA, that is basic. It's his improved Muy Thai that can keep it close.
Expect Sonnen to land a nice combo on his feet and press Munoz into the cage setting up his first take down attempt. If Munoz can't defend it, then it will be a long night for him.
Sonnen has experience on his side, and his cardio is second to none. He should be able to bully Munoz, and do not be surprised if he treats Munoz like he did to Marquardt and Okami.
It will be interesting to see how this will play out, but expect Sonnen to be the victor based on his experience and hunger.
Sonnen wants a rematch with Silva more than anything, and at the rate he is going, there will be no man that can stop him.