Bellator NYC: Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen Toe to Toe Preview - A complete breakdown (2022)

Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen return to the cage this June 24, 2017 at Madison Square Garden this New York City, New York.

Single sentence summary

Phil: What happens when the fighter who prided himself on being the smartest guy in the room realizes that he can't do it anymore?

David: Bad blood between sad doodads.

Stats

Record: Wanderlei Silva 35-12-1 NC 1-Draw Chael Sonnen 29-15-1 Draw

(Video) Full Fight | Chael Sonnen vs Wanderlei Silva | Bellator 180

Odds: Wanderlei Silva +150 Chael Sonnen -160

History / Introduction to the fighters

Phil: Chael had it all, until he didn't. That's been pretty much the encapsulation of his career since that first fateful time he fought Anderson Silva, and fell at the final hurdle. He made it back, and got destroyed. He fought Jones, and got close to winning by one of the most fortuitous injury TKOs I've ever seen, if only he could have held on for one single round. There was a place for him as an analyst and a reliable heel, but his massive drug test failure drove him out of the UFC. Now he's in Bellator, but it seems quite apparent that his heart is no longer in it.

David: I wish I could wax intelligent about Sonnen’s career but i’m pretty sure we tried to do that for the Tito Ortiz fight. All the nice things I could say I’ve pondered, labored over, and articulated. Truth is, Sonnen was less a heel, and more of a hoax. A politician in an athlete’s body - smiley glad handing his way into fights he didn’t deserve (Jones) because Dana White is a sucker for his white savior. I.E. “You’re crazy if you think Mayweather can’t be caught”. No really.

Phil: Man it's been a long time since Wanderlei Silva, Destroyer of Men was a thing. We're getting close to that potential Robert de Niro inflection point where the bad side of a career is longer than the good one. The whole story of Wanderlei's UFC tenure was that he was clearly on the downslope... but it started almost ten years ago! Anyway, these two were coaching a series of TUF against each other until Wanderlei ran away from a drugs test and Sonnen basically exploded the testing machines. Now they're both back, and it's time for the rivalry to finally be... oh whatever.

(Video) Re-Air | Bellator 180 Sonnen vs. Silva

David: Let’s forget about all that great Pride nostalgia for a second. When Wanderlei came into the UFC, he wasn’t what he once was, like Chuck Liddell, but that fight between the two of them is a modern classic IMO. People would build shrines out of these men if it happened in Pride. Alas, it happened after Wanderlei threatened to have sex with Chuck, and neither man has been the same since.

What’s at stake?

David: LOL.

Phil: These guys are gimmicks to be used in legend fights or sacrificed to up-and-comers. Thus there are many directions they could go. Chael against Rory? A Fedor rematch for Wanderlei? I shudder to think, to be honest.

Where do they want it?

Phil: Where is less the question than "when", and the answer is "a long time ago". Once, Chael was a dynamic wrestler with an incredibly powerful shot and a number of sneaky trips. If he got people down on the mat, he was able to cleverly blend actual powerful ground and even top position submission attempts with absolute nonsense which he just threw in order to look busy and not get stood up. He was an underrated boxer, who had a slipping hook which Brad Pickett would be proud of. His problem was always mental. He could take licks and keep on coming, but it was an insecure type of willpower; the kind of perpetual motion machine which rammed him straight into walls if he got trapped. That is something which has gotten much, much worse over time, to the extent that I genuinely doubt he can function as a mixed martial artist anymore.

(Video) Chael Sonnen - Home invasion story

David: Sonnen’s boxing was adequate as long as it was connected to his wrestling. In a vacuum it’s pretty terrible. He doesn’t string combinations together, and doesn’t have movement nor the head space to deflect or pivot away from pressure. But that’s what his wrestling is for. And his clinch. He’s always been good at timing his clinch entries to avoid attacks and to setup his takedowns. Over time he’s lost two key things that made him efficient at this: his strength (TRT baby!) and his grip. He’s tough but he’s also one ill advised spinning back elbow from giving up position.

Phil: Wanderlei's clinch and kicks largely died in his UFC tenure, with the exception of a fight against Cung Le, leaving him mostly as a powerful, canny boxer, not a million miles away from his friend Shogun, basically. He's far more of a counterpuncher, basically waiting for his opponent to enter space, before winging short, repeated hooks. He can split an opponents guard with a jab, and is a better wrestler and grappler than he's given credit for. While he physically faded, he remained pretty cunning, and was essentially able to game Stann and Bisping into fights which he could win with sudden moments of offense.

David: I would argue his clinch began to fade a little even during Pride. I’d like to think Ricardo Arona had something to do with this - just so everyone else can remember him as fondly as I do. Matchups also played a factor. Wand never had to deal with the classic wrestle-boxers of the UFC. Ala grass versus clay. As you mentioned, Wanderlei has been an underrated grappler for years. Mainly from a defensive perspective. He’s good at scrambling, fighting for underhooks and countergrappling with his clinch acumen. He never got enough credit for fending off a prime Rampage, who was more or less neutralized in both of their first two bouts. I would say Wand has something similar going with Shogun on the feet as well - Chute Boxe in general ushered in a unique brand of striking that was raw, but designed well for MMA. Wand’s boxing may look a little sloppy, but I always thought of it as a bug more than a feature. He’s good at timing and cutting traditional archetypes of defense (like Jackson’s earmuff stance) with strikes, only really losing his mind if he smells blood in the water. Think controlled chaos. These assets have waned for Wand obviously, but still.

Insight from past fights

Phil: Look at any of Chael's semi-recent fights. All the way back to Jones, and including Shogun. He just doesn't want to fight any more. As soon as he gets pushback, he's toast.

(Video) ESPN Hires Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva Off Bellator Fan Fest on MMA Newsmakers

David: Wand has been MIA since 2013. It’s hard to glean much insight into his past fights since his past feels absent.

X-Factors

Phil: Bellator doesn't exactly have the most rigorous testing regime in the world, so I'm morbidly curious to see how these two gentlemen look physically.

David: Clomiphene. Roid rage. Despair. Just the usual between two former alpha males from opposite ends of the white and blue collar spectrum.

Prognostication

Phil: I think Chael will try something, perhaps get some success, then get reversed and curl into a ball. Wanderlei Silva by TKO, round 1.

(Video) FOX Sports 1: Chael Sonnen Interview

David: Honestly, I think this fight has the ability to be a complete bore. Who knows what Silva will look like. Sonnen likes fighting Brazilians and often looks competent doing so. He doesn’t like his “piglet tribes”. Wanderlei Silva by Decision.

FAQs

Who won fight between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva? ›

Sonnen and Silva never actually fought in UFC; however, they eventually settled their rivalry Bellator 180 on June 24, 2017, with Sonnen winning a unanimous decision. Finished reading this story?

Why did Wanderlei Silva fight Chael Sonnen? ›

Sonnen and Wanderlei filmed Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil,” where things got physical between the pair after Sonnen refused to apologize for criticizing Brazil during his past rivalry with Anderson.

How many times did chael and Wanderlei fight? ›

In fact, the show has played a crucial role in promoting some of the biggest fights in UFC history. Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva were scheduled to fight each other on three separate occasions, but the bout never happened due to pull-outs from both sides.

Did Sonnen tap? ›

Sonnen tapped to the choke, ending the fight, or did he? Well, yes, he did. However, he tried to deny it at first. While still wrapped in Silva's legs, Sonnen tried to argue with officials that he didn't tap.

What was Chael Sonnen best fight? ›

  • Silva vs. Sonnen. UFC 117. Anderson Silva wins via Submission, Triangle Armbar Aug 2010.
  • Sonnen vs. Stann. UFC 136. ...
  • Rua vs. Sonnen. UFC Fight Night 26. ...
  • Marquardt vs. Sonnen. UFC 109. ...
  • Sonnen vs. Bisping. UFC on FOX 2. ...
  • Silva vs. Sonnen II. UFC 148. ...
  • Jones vs. Sonnen. UFC 159. ...
  • Maia vs. Sonnen. UFC 95.

How many losses did Chael Sonnen have? ›

Chael Sonnen Record: 29-15-1
W/LFighterEvent
lossChael Sonnen Paulo FilhoWEC 31: Faber vs. Curran Dec. 12, 2007
lossChael Sonnen Jeremy HornUFC 60: Hughes vs Gracie May. 27, 2006
winChael Sonnen Trevor PrangleyUFC Fight Night 4 Apr. 06, 2006
lossChael Sonnen Renato SobralUFC 55: Fury Oct. 07, 2005
16 more rows

Why was Chael Sonnen suspended 2 years? ›

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday handed down a largely light punishment to retired UFC star Chael Sonnen. Sonnen was suspended for two years with no fine. He is required to pay the costs of his drug testing program and for the costs (hotel, flight) of bringing in the NSAC laboratory expert.

Did Chael Sonnen get charged? ›

Sonnen was charged with 11 counts of battery, including one felony battery by strangulation, last week after he allegedly punched or kicked five different men in Las Vegas on Dec. 18. Sonnen told police that both he and his wife had taken Ambien and “did not have memory of anything,” according to the Review-Journal.

Did Chael Sonnen keep his promise? ›

That's the only promise I never... that's the only promise I never kept." Unfortunately, Sonnen also failed to honor his promise of beating Ortiz as well. 'The American Gangster' came very close, though, when he caught Ortiz in a guillotine choke in round one.

How much money does Chael Sonnen make? ›

Chael Sonnen Net Worth: Chael Sonnen is a retired American Mixed Martial Artist who has a net worth of $10 million.
...
Chael Sonnen Net Worth.
Net Worth:$10 Million
Height:6 ft (1.85 m)
Profession:Martial Artist, Entrepreneur, Promoter, Actor
Nationality:United States of America
2 more rows

Why did Chael Sonnen retire? ›

After losing to Rashad Evans at UFC 167, Chael Sonnen never fought in the UFC again. He failed a drugs test for the second time and announced his retirement from MMA on UFC Tonight in 2014.

Did chael ever win a UFC belt? ›

"The question here is: did [Chael Sonnen] ever become a UFC champion? He was never a UFC champion.

Are Sonnen and Silva friends? ›

They were once bitter rivals, but now, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen are extremely cordial. Over the course of their two middleweight title fights in the UFC, Silva and Sonnen were part of arguably the biggest rivalry in mixed martial arts.

Did Chael Sonnen test positive for PEDS? ›

According to California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer George Dodd, UFC Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has been notified that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs following his UFC 117 loss to Anderson Silva.

Why was Sonnen suspended? ›

The former UFC contender was ultimately suspended for two years for testing positive for Clomiphene, Anastrozole, HCG, HGH and EPO in separate tests, given on May 24 and June 5. He was also forced to pay the costs of the tests that ultimately nabbed him.

Does Chael Sonnen have a black belt? ›

Chael Sonnen has been awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra Portland.

What is Chael Sonnen walkout song? ›

Chael Sonnen, 'Too Much Fun' by Daryle Singletary.

Did Chael Sonnen ever won a title? ›

Sonnen is often considered one of the best mixed martial artists never to have won a major MMA world championship and one of the sport's greatest trash-talkers.

Who is the richest UFC fighter? ›

Conor McGregor – $20,102,000

The former two-division Cage Warriors and UFC champion is the superior MMA athlete in the world in terms of fight earnings. Besides becoming a title-holder, a few fighter's dream is to get a match with McGregor to receive their biggest career pay.

Are Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones friends? ›

Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones have a complicated relationship, to put it mildly.

Did Sonnen and Wanderlei ever fight? ›

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva is one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history. With both men being Hall of Fame talents who had bad blood, they had fought in, and out of the cage. Their rivalry spanned two promotions, and after multiple postponements in the UFC, they finally fought in 2017 in Bellator.

How many wins does Chael Sonnen have? ›

Sonnen has also fought in World Extreme Cagefighting, Pancrase, and most recently for Bellator MMA. Sonnen is often considered one of the best mixed martial artists never to have won a major MMA world championship and one of the sport's greatest trash-talkers.
...
Chael Sonnen
Total49
Wins31
By knockout8
By submission4
34 more rows

Did Sonnen leave UFC? ›

After losing to Rashad Evans at UFC 167, Chael Sonnen never fought in the UFC again. He failed a drugs test for the second time and announced his retirement from MMA on UFC Tonight in 2014. However, Sonnen did return to MMA, competing in Bellator from 2017 to 2019 before once again walking away from the sport.

How much money does Chael Sonnen make? ›

Chael Sonnen Net Worth: Chael Sonnen is a retired American Mixed Martial Artist who has a net worth of $10 million.
...
Chael Sonnen Net Worth.
Net Worth:$10 Million
Height:6 ft (1.85 m)
Profession:Martial Artist, Entrepreneur, Promoter, Actor
Nationality:United States of America
2 more rows

Is Chael Sonnen a UFC Hall of Famer? ›

UFC Hall Of Famer Chael Sonnen's Top 5 Best Performances

UFC Hall of Famer Chael Sonnen is often considered as one of the greatest all-time mixed martial artists to have never won a UFC Championship but he holds notable victories over numerous former world champions.

Why was Chael Sonnen suspended 2 years? ›

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday handed down a largely light punishment to retired UFC star Chael Sonnen. Sonnen was suspended for two years with no fine. He is required to pay the costs of his drug testing program and for the costs (hotel, flight) of bringing in the NSAC laboratory expert.

Who is the richest UFC fighter? ›

Conor McGregor – $20,102,000

The former two-division Cage Warriors and UFC champion is the superior MMA athlete in the world in terms of fight earnings. Besides becoming a title-holder, a few fighter's dream is to get a match with McGregor to receive their biggest career pay.

Is Chael Sonnen a black belt? ›

Chael Sonnen has been awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra Portland.

Videos

1. When Trash Talk Goes Right: Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
(WAR MMA)
2. MMA Fighting Archives: The Best of Chael Sonnen - MMA Fighting
(MMAFightingonSBN)
3. Tito Ortiz Clearly Tapped Out by Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170
(Trikki)
4. My old nemesis Wanderlei Silva retired…
(Chael Sonnen)
5. When Trash Talk Goes Right: Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones
(WAR MMA)
6. Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen Highlights Джон Джонс против Соннен Основные моменты
(СаМыЙ РыЖиЙ)

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