Mount, defense, knockout—was Anderson’s Jiu-Jitsu up to speed or lagging at UFC 148?

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Guilherme and Rafael Mendes notched their third World Championship title apiece in 2012. Photo by Kinya Hashimoto.

Last July 7, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen locked horns in the most heavily anticipated rematch of recent times. In the MGM Arena in Las Vegas, the American came out of his corner full throttle, taking the middleweight champ down and mounting him, in what looked like a perfect repeat of their first encounter, in August 2010. However…

The second round saw Anderson in perfect form. He thwarted Sonnen’s aggression, bobbed and weaved in spectacular fashion, and put an authoritative stop to the bout with a knee and punches. But what missing for Sonnen once he achieved the mount? And what did the Ramon Lemos-trained Anderson have going for him?

Students of Ramon’s and current world champions (light feather and featherweight, respectively), the brothers Guilherme and Rafael Mendes were in Vegas for the UFC and paid close attention to the fight. Hours later they even met up with Anderson Silva and congratulated him.

To bring the world of the UFC and MMA closer to the world of Jiu-Jitsu technique, we had a chat with them about Anderson’s triumph. The following are the highlights from the conversation:

Chael Sonnen’s mount

“Sonnen is really good at wrestling, and everyone knew he was going to try and take Anderson down and do the same thing he did the first time. He was quick in shooting on his legs, and as it’s a specialty of his, he got the takedown. We told Ramon how we felt Anderson did really well and was calm on bottom, defending himself well, and he was aware of when the round was going to end so he could start on his feet again.”

Anderson’s patience

“Anderson showed that he’d done his homework in training and was comfortable on bottom, because a lot of fighters get desperate in that position. Sonnen’s good there, and Anderson did well against him; Ramon Lemos deserves congratulations. The credit for the mount goes more to Sonnen. Anderson did everything just right; he didn’t get desperate, didn’t fold to the position in trying to escape (something really common in the UFC, didn’t leave any openings. By the time Sonnen mounted there wasn’t long left in the first round.”

Sonnen’s Jiu-Jitsu

“Our analysis of it is that Sonnen used good wrestling and could have used more Jiu-Jitsu. Now Anderson is to be congratulated, as he did swell when defending himself on the ground. In the second round, Sonnen tried to take Anderson down, but Anderson did great in defending the takedowns and imposed his pace. It was a great fight, and both did excellently. It was a pleasure to watch the fight live.”

What do you think, gentle reader? What’s your breakdown of the ground fight? Let us know in the comments field below.

Anderson Silva’s arm is raised after victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 148. UFC publicity photo.

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