Chat with Brett Okamoto
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com mixed martial arts writer Brett Okamoto stops by to chat about the news from the octagon.
Okamoto joined ESPN.com in December 2010. Previously, he was the boxing/MMA writer for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and has also worked with Sports Illustrated magazine and CNN.com.
Send your questions now and join Okamoto Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Brett Okamoto (3:00 PM)
Happy Friday everybody and thanks for stopping by this special edition of our MMA chat. Anderson Silva ... Chael Sonnen ... tomorrow night it goes down again at UFC 148. I'm picking Sonnen in an upset, but it's not like I'm crazy confident predicting against probably the best fighter of all time. Should be a great one either way, though. Let's hear your comments and questions.
Darren (Atlanta, GA)
Brett I like trash talk as much as the next fight fan. But as a reporter, when does Chael's antics become a bit too disrespectful and classless for the UFC and the sport of MMA to you? The UFC is a world class organization and they shouldn't allow Sonnen to go as far as he does, especially if mainstream exposure is the goal.
Brett Okamoto (3:01 PM)
As a reporter, I get to see two very different side of Chael. That guy turns it on and off better than anyone I have ever seen. I have had many "normal" conversations with Chael. I think he's maybe crossed a line here or there during the past few years, but overall, right now MMA is still in a position where it just wants eyeballs. So, if he crosses a line occasionally, but it gets people's interest, the UFC is cool with it right now. Since I hear his bit so often, personally I get a little sick of it and I want a straight answer, but in general I don't mind it too much.
McKinley B. Noble (San Francisco, CA)
Brett, given Chael Sonnen's checkered win-loss-draw history, is there any room for him in the pound-for-pound top 10 if he beats Silva? Inversely, does Silva drop from the P4P list with a loss?
Brett Okamoto (3:03 PM)
Chael Sonnen would probably be in a few P4P lists if he beat Anderson, but personally I doubt I'd have him in mine. He's got the perfect style to beat Anderson. I don't have him in my top 10 right now, and I don't think one win would propel him into it. Not to say he isn't a great fighter, because he is, but all things considered I think there are at least 10 ahead of him right now.
Hey Brett, have you heard any news for who Alexander Gustaffson or Rashad Evans would fight next? And is Fabricio Werdum a potential matchup for Alistair Overeem when he returns from suspension?
Brett Okamoto (3:05 PM)
We'll see on Rashad. He's talked a bit about going to 185, something I absolutely do not see. That would be a horrendous weight cut for him, I've got to believe. Styles wise I wouldn't mind seeing Gustafsson go against Glover Teixeira but I would be somewhat surprised if the UFC went that route. Werdum/Overeem ... probably not. I believe Overeem will fight for the title and the last time those two fought in Dallas it was a snoozer.
LarrySandersJoe (Robin Hood country, UK)
Hello Brett. Would you mind donning your hypothetical cap for me? Let's say Anderson refuses to obey the ref's commands and release a triangle choke once Chael goes out - would that be ruled a DQ or No Contest? Further still, does Chael walk away with the belt if Anderson picks up the loss. Thanks!
Brett Okamoto (3:06 PM)
Hypothetical cap is on and believe me, after that fury-filled conference call I thought about this scenario. I will tell you with 99.999999% confidence, this isn't going to happen. Anderson said he'll shake Sonnen's hand when the fight is over, he said that Tuesday. But IF this were to go down, I'm not sure they would change it to a no-contest, but I'm not sure any commission would ever license him to fight again.
Erich (Colombo, Sri Lanka)
How do you see the Bisping/Stann/Belcher/Belfort matchmaking situation playing out?
Brett Okamoto (3:08 PM)
Bisping fights Stann. They sit on Belfort and see what happens with Hector Lombard, because Belfort/Lombard is dynamite. Belcher ... misses out on all of them for now. He's getting close to a big fight though.
Hi Brett, Silva / Sonnen I can see ending one of 3 ways, Chael on points, Anderson by Ko / sub or Chael winning by DQ (illegal kick)...thoughts. Also Chad Mendes / Cody Mckenzie....was Joe Silva on vacation that week and being replaced by the work experience kid?
Brett Okamoto (3:09 PM)
My prediction is Sonnen on points. My backup prediction if I'm allowed to have one is Silva by submission. And yeah, Mendes/McKenzie is a head-scratcher. That division needs more depth but even so, Mendes is waaaay above McKenzie as it sits right now. Doesn't gain much with a win in that fight, in my opinion.
Cameron (Brisvegas (Australia) )
Yo Brett, Would you have any more info on whose competing in the Smashes (England V Australia) and is Dana likely to be gracing us with his presence for the entire filming given how far we are away from eveyone else in the world?
Brett Okamoto (3:11 PM)
The rumor was, as I'm sure you saw, Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos. I haven't heard anything more concrete on my end, and actually the fact Pearson just lost at 145 might make that more feasible, as maybe he goes, okay I tried featherweight, now I'll go back to lightweight for this opportunity. Either way, yeah, I believe Dana would appear on most episodes.
Nick (Perth (Oz) )
Hi Brett, Obviously Silva / Sonnen 2 was meant to be a "watershed moment" for Zuffa in Brazil until they couldnt find accomodation due to the UN conference. How do you see the buildup compared to other Zuffa events and what are the chances of the fight living up to the hype?
Brett Okamoto (3:12 PM)
The buildup is through the roof. The UFC is trying to promote this as it did UFC 100 and I believe it will be effective. I'm expecting PPV numbers close to that landmark card. And will the fight live up to the hype? Of course, you never know for sure, but I do see this being an entertaining fight. I really do.
Did Chael really say that stuff about Anderson Silva's wife? The smacking and cooking comments? He denied them on LeBatard's show, but it seemed to be slightly less than genuine
Brett Okamoto (3:13 PM)
He denied saying exactly what LeBatard said, but yes, he's made that comment about Anderson's wife and he's even said the "medium rare" thing numerous times afterwards after he knew it got under Anderson's skin.
Paul I. (Cleveland)
Hi Brett, once Tito retires from the UFC, what are the odds he enters the Ken Shamrock zone and starts competing in low level events to make extra cash?
Brett Okamoto (3:14 PM)
Zero. If a year down the road he desperately wanted to come back, he'd sit down and talk about it with the UFC. No way he fights for another promotion.
Marc (Chicago, IL)
If Silva beats Chael and Hendo beats Jones, AND Hendo beats Silva... Is Hendo the GOAT?
Brett Okamoto (3:15 PM)
I had to read that a couple times to let it soak in ... umm, if all that were to happen ... playing it out, playing it out ... I guess he'd have an argument, wouldn't he?
justin waterville maine [via mobile]
if tito wins....is there any chance we see him in the octogon again
Brett Okamoto (3:15 PM)
Personally, I don't think so. We've seen enough pro sports to know retirement is always a kind of wishy-washy thing, but if Tito wins this fight, he should just be happy and go out with a win and I think that's what he'd do in the end.
Dave Y. (Chicago)
Brett, CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS FIGHT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING? SO EXCITED. What are your thoughts on what'll happen to silva IF he loses saturday. Would that mean an automatic ticket to 205?
Brett Okamoto (3:16 PM)
If he lost? I would have to believe you do the trilogy immediately. Even regardless of how he lost, whether it was an early knockout where Chael caught him or similar to the first fight minus an Anderson submission, they'd want to do it again right away.
Paul I. (Cleveland)
HI Brett, if Silva destroys Chael then surely the fight to end his career on the highest note would be a title fight with Bones Jones. And wouldn't Silva match up really well with Jones?
Brett Okamoto (3:18 PM)
I would agree 100 percent Paul. I'd love to see Anderson/Jones, far more than I'd want to see Anderson/GSP. I do think Anderson would matchup well with Jones, only because he's got such a significant experience edge. I think he'd be the one person in the world who would still intimidate Jones a bit. Jones would probably put him on the floor though, honestly.
Any insight having seen these fighters up close this week? Notice any one extra relaxed or uptight?
Brett Okamoto (3:19 PM)
Anderson is edgy. That's one observation. Chael is confident as usual, will be interesting to see how he looks after this weight cut. He said yesterday he had 20 pounds to lose ... make of that what you will. He didn't look abnormally huge to me, but I'm sure he does have weight to lose. Mentally, tough to say who has the edge. We've never seen an Anderson this fired up before.
Rick,tx [via mobile]
I hope it goes all 5 but im worried about judges based on recent scoreings,any changes in judgeing or scoreing....hope sider wins ur thoughts.....MOTO
Brett Okamoto (3:21 PM)
I wouldn't lose sleep about the judging. A bad decision is always a possibility, but the way these two match up, I don't think we're destined for five difficult rounds to score. I also kind of hope it doesn't end early, just because that would feel a little like a letdown after two years of waiting.
Drew (Georgia) [via mobile]
Brett Do you think the UFC will grant Royce Gracie a retirement fight? The major fan base doesn't want his fight, and I thinks it's extremely disrespectful to shun out a man who physically put the UFC on the map and with his family sent MMA in the technical direction it is in today
Brett Okamoto (3:23 PM)
Royce has the respect of everyone in the game, but does that automatically mean he deserves a fight in the UFC? In my opinion, no. It's not disrespectful, it's just, the UFC is the testing grounds for the best in the world and at this point in his career, Royce isn't that anymore. I could see them giving him a fight against a guy like Matt Hughes, just because that's not a really, physically dangerous fight. It't not like Hughes is this power puncher who will cause severe harm to Royce. I could go either way on it.
Chris (808 State of mind)
Brett, depending on the outcome tomorrow. Which do you think is a more likely superfight. Anderson V Jones if he wins, or Chael V GSP if he wins.... Would love to see Chael smack talk Canada for awhile...
Brett Okamoto (3:25 PM)
The hold up on this for me is GSP. It made sense for him to move up to middleweight 12-18 months ago. Now, he's coming off an injury which prevented him from adding weight as he wanted. He's also got a lot more options at 170 now. We're not recycling Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, we've got Condit, Hendricks, Kampmann, Ellenberger ... Diaz when he comes back, which that fight still fascinates me. I'd be down to see GSP in a super fight, but it's not as necessary as it once was.
If Sonnen loses tmrw night, I could see this ad his last at 185, and he moves to 205. You see that as a possibility?
Brett Okamoto (3:26 PM)
Yeah, I do. What if Anderson moves up too though, would he stick around and work back to a title? Because he has to be confident that he can beat anyone in that division. So if Anderson leaves for a super fight and then eventual retirement, why not stay and be right back in the title picture at your natural weight division within a year?
What do you make of Chael's outburst on Dan LeBatard a couple days ago? Do you think Chael went over the line or do you think LeBatard was going to much in depth with his questioning?
Brett Okamoto (3:26 PM)
I just saw it as Chael being Chael. It was entertaining.
Why is everyone who is a "true" MMA fan always act like trash talk and cutting promos is the worst thing? The top PPV buyrates in MMA history involved grudge matches and/or guys who were good on the mic
Brett Okamoto (3:27 PM)
I don't see it as a bad thing either. Sometimes when it comes across as too forced, I cringe a bit. But if it's real and you can back it up, I like it.
Brett, I heard rumors a while back of a UFC event coming to Hawaii. Have you heard anything about this. You would be hard pressed to find a place as fight crazed as the 808.
Brett Okamoto (3:28 PM)
It was and has been on the UFC's radar. I think the topic has cooled off a bit though recently. Eventually, gotta believe they'll go there because you're right, seems like the sport is big there.
Stinky McBritches (Huntingdon, WV)
What fight are you most looking forward to on the 148 card, non-Silva/Sonnen division?
Brett Okamoto (3:29 PM)
If I could only watch a couple on the card, I'd catch Mike Easton vs. Ivan Menjivar and Patrick Cote vs. Cung Le.
Silva's camp continues to claim that Anderson wasn't 100% during the last fight and that was the only reason Chael was able to compete? How much truth is in that statement? Are both fighters 100% now as far as you know?
Brett Okamoto (3:31 PM)
No one really knows exactly how much the rib was bothering Anderson, except for Anderson. I will say I've gone back and watched their first fight about a million times, and Anderson grabs the area immediately after the first round and winces. He then winces badly again at the end when the referee holds his arms up in the victory pose. I think it was a factor, but I'm not one of those who are like, 'Oh, Anderson is healthy now so Chael has no chance."
Brett, liked your pick and the article. You don't have much company with that pick, but Sonnen is right about the fight coming down to who wants it most, and he certainly came back from a lot for this fight....
Brett Okamoto (3:32 PM)
If you REALLY think about it, Chael should absolutely want this fight more. He's never been a champion. He lost in heartbreaking fashion. Anderson is at the pinnacle of the sport. Even in the first fight, it seemed like Chael was all business from start to finish, and Anderson was in this calm, obviously wanting to win state, but never really desperate or concerned he might lose. Motivation edge goes to Chael if you ask me.
Who is the best fighter Anderson beat.
Brett Okamoto (3:32 PM)
I would say Dan Henderson.
Whats up with Fitch? Was wondering if you've heard when he will be back? Also, how do you think Fitch would do vs. Ebersole??
Brett Okamoto (3:34 PM)
Don't believe he's healed to the point where he'd be in a position to accept fights yet. Against Ebersole specifically, I think he'd win that fight fairly easily. Fitch's stock has gone down but bottom line, he's still one of the absolute best at what he does.
DerekT (Romeoville, IL)
Does Demian Maia struggle with the weight cut? and does Melvin Guillard get back on track? I say yes to both, what do you think?
Brett Okamoto (3:35 PM)
Always possible a fighter struggles with weight cut, everyone reacts to it different. Just judging by his body frame, I think he'll make the cut successfully and be able to stay at 170 if he wants. Guillard, yeah, Saturday would seem like an opportunity for him to roll. He's too much of an athlete for Camoes.
PB and J in the same jar? (How low can you go!)
Important fight for Guillard after the Miller/Lauzon losses? Is he in any danger of being cut?
Brett Okamoto (3:35 PM)
Definitely an important fight for Melvin, but not a "win or go home" situation.
Hey Brett,Watched the Sonnen Silva I fight last night to refresh myself, hadn't seen it since fightnight and WOW. Sonnen dominated even more than I remembered. Silva looked confused, and his timing was way off, and his takedown defense was horrible. Rib injury aside, what's the main thing you expect Silva to do differently tomorrow?
Brett Okamoto (3:37 PM)
I believe he'll try and be aggressive. We know him as a counter fighter, he likes to go out and study his opponent early. He'll still do a little of that because that's who he is, but he doesn't want to get caught against the fence. If he's backing up, Chael can cut him off and work the takedown. He needs to be light on his feet, be more active than the first fight, but not go into some flying knee as he did in the second round of that fight and gift-wrap a takedown. I also think on the floor, he won't be content hanging out on his back. He'll focus on getting up instead of submissions, as we saw Michael Bisping do. Those are my guesses.
Michael (New York)
I see a lot of people predicting Silva with a quick KO/TKO. Chael's submission defense maybe a joke, but his chin & boxing skills aren't.
Brett Okamoto (3:39 PM)
Yeah, the main response I get back when I say what you said Michael, is ... But Anderson is mad this time and he's healthy. Okay ... I agree with you ... but ... Chael doesn't get knocked out. And he's a guy who slows things down on the feet because he's always inside. The clinch position could be dangerous though, if Chael goes down early I could see it being a knee from the clinch that does it.
Hey Brett, was Bisping a tougher matchup for Chael? If that Sonnen shows up, I think it will be a quick night.
Brett Okamoto (3:40 PM)
From talking to his camp a bit, they believe Chael got away from the game plan that night and he also had a fairly difficult weight cut. It's possible Bisping is just a better wrestler than all of us gave him credit for. It's not a bad thing to bring up past fights, but I don't put too much stock into that one when trying to predict this one. Totally different fight.
Alvaro (Texas) [via mobile]
Y is rashad ranked do high... Who has he beaten to be up there? They should make a fight with him and shogun
Brett Okamoto (3:41 PM)
If Jon Jones didn't exist, I 100 percent believe Rashad would be holding the belt.
Seagal said he taught Anderson Silva 3 new things for this fight they thought were illegal. Advantage Spider?
Brett Okamoto (3:42 PM)
With respect, some of the things Seagal has said he taught Anderson Silva ... I believe have existed in martial arts for years and years.
Do you think it makes sense to have Werdum fight Cormier in a sort of #1 contenders bout for the last Strikeforce Heavyweight fight?
Brett Okamoto (3:43 PM)
In terms of sorting out rankings, yes, but now that Werdum has crossed into the UFC and has had success, there is no way he's going back to Strikeforce.
Brett-is it assumed that Chael Sonnen was on steroids in his near miss against the Spider in 2010? And if so, given Chael's unwavering cocky attitude going in to tomorrow's tilt, are we certain he is not again juicing? And finally, given Chael's fully obnoxious and ignorant statements regarding Brazil, should he lose, instead of leaving the UFC, can Dana White make him leave the USA, head to England to live with Bisping and soccer hooligans? Please?
Brett Okamoto (3:45 PM)
Clay, it's a long story regarding Sonnen's test after that 2010 fight. In as short as I can put it, he tested for a high testosterone-to-epistosterone ratio. That is not, on it's own, unwavering evidence that he was on anything. It's a good indicator that his testosterone level was high, but without a blood test (commissions use urine tests) we don't know exactly what his testosterone level was the night of the fight. Where he ran into trouble then, was the commission said he didn't disclose he was using TRT. Chael maintains he did tell them, in writing, and that he's been on TRT for years. Given the T/E ratio test, there is evidence he at least abused his TRT treatments, but there is no black and white answer, really.
mike (vegas) [via mobile]
Why is it that Anderson didn't want to give Sonnen a rematch after 2010? Was he scared someone could actually beat him?
Brett Okamoto (3:47 PM)
Well, I guess you could make a case that without Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen is not anywhere near as popular and maybe after everything that's been said, Anderson didn't want Chael making any more money on his name. That's how I would look at it. From what I've been told, he thought Chael didn't deserve it because he had every advantage in their first fight and still lost.
Jacob (New York)
Hey Brett thanks for taking the time to do this. I have watched the tape of the previous fight between silva and sonnen and id like to ask you a question regarding technique. Everybody knows that sonnen was able to take silva down what almost looked like at will. He would lead with a right overhand to get Silva to block and then immediately go for a double leg takedown. My question is do you think the fact that silva does not have broken ribs this time around and having the tape from the previous fight will prevent sonnen from being able to toss him down whenever he feels like?
Brett Okamoto (3:48 PM)
I think he will be better prepared this time, yes. I don't think you can simplify it into just fixing the one technique you mentioned, but general things like his cage awareness and footwork will be improved with some specifics in mind for Chael.
What are your thoughts on two recent TUF competitors..Dodson and that Justin Lawerence kid? See either of them making a splash up the ranks in the near future?
Brett Okamoto (3:50 PM)
Well Dodson is in a great division to do it. The flyweight division is wiiiiide open right now and probably will be for the next two-three years. Lawrence has some awesome raw talent and he'll be competing at 145 which he's better suited for. I like the fact he took a fight right away too, already getting to work at UFC 150. Basically, yeah, I like both their chances.
Brandon DeRoller(Indiana) [via mobile]
Did you think Bisping won the fight against Chael?
Brett Okamoto (3:50 PM)
I actually did score the fight 2-1 Bisping, but it was one of those fights where you're like, "this one could go either way and I won't argue."
Anderson was pretty fired up at the Belfort wiegh in, yet he didn't come out swinging in that one. As I remember it, they danced around for the first 3 minutes of round 1. Do you think Anderson will stay cautious in this one the same way?
Brett Okamoto (3:51 PM)
That's a good point, but it's a different fight this time. Against Vitor, you know you've got an aggressive striker which Anderson was probably very confident that he could counter. With Chael, it might not be the best thing to stand at a distance because if you allow him to close and you're trying to catch him, he gets momentum going and then he takes you down. So, I do think Anderson will fight the way he wants and that emotions won't play into it too much. If he does come forward more, I think it's a game plan thing rather than a he's too fired up thing.
Before Dominick's injury, did you think Urijah had a good shot at him in their rematch (rubbermatch)?
Brett Okamoto (3:53 PM)
I thought he had a shot, yeah. To beat Cruz, you need to be fast, which Urijah is. It's be nice to have some power so you can hurt him, Urijah's got that. And you need to be very well rounded because Cruz is and he'll find a hole if you've got one. Cruz still has an edge just because he seems to do everything just slightly better than everyone else, but if there's one guy in the division who can beat him, I do think it's Urijah.
Paul I. (Cleveland)
Hi Brett, when is Maia going to remember his punching skills are not what won him so many fights? Why would he not utilize his best weapons and keep losing to mediocre fighters?
Brett Okamoto (3:54 PM)
I have no idea man. He got away from his grappling so much in the past two years. He always said he was never quite happy with his performances, even when he was running through guys and submitting them immediately, but at this point I would think he'd love to go back to that. He's got kind of a tough style matchup to do that though against Kim.
I saw Chael's American Gangster video. I was wondering if you have ever been to West Linn yourself?? If so, did you witness any of the atrocities/anarchy Chael spoke of??
Brett Okamoto (3:55 PM)
Haha, I have never been. Littering and jaywalking are certainly heinous crimes though and affect the lives of far too many.
JP (Columbus, OH)
I'm on the record - Chael Sonnen gets the Forrest Griffin treatment tomorrow night. Anderson Silva reminds us why he's the best fighter of all time, once again.
Brett Okamoto (3:56 PM)
Maybe he gets knocked out JP but it won't be as easy as it was against Forrest. No way.
Richard Simmons (End Of The Rainbow)
Hi Brett, you are fabulous! Is MMA ready for an openly gay fighter?
Brett Okamoto (3:58 PM)
What do you mean by ready? It would create some headlines at first I would think, but by the second-third fight a guy had or if another one came out, I don't think it would be considered newsworthy really.
What's with everyone calling out Belcher? Belcher did the dirty work by putting Palhares out of title contention. Think there is any truth in that these guys are trying to capitalize on Belcher? Belcher vs Belfort would be tremendous. I think Belcher is a future champ (2-3 years the latest).
Brett Okamoto (3:59 PM)
Probably Ed. Strike while the iron is hot. Belcher's stock has gone way up but he's a safer fight than some of these other guys, like a Munoz/Weidman/Belfort. I like Belcher a lot, but future champ ... I'm gonna hold off on that one just for now.
Mark (Boston, MA)
What are your thoughts on UFC on FUEL in Macao? I know the UFC want to invade China but when will they come back to places like Boston, Miami or Philadelphia? Especially Boston.
Brett Okamoto (4:00 PM)
They do want to invade China, big time. If it makes you feel better, the fact there is a card in China doesn't lower the chances of having one in Boston. The card in China will feature as much local talent as they can get on there, it's not at all similar to a card they would hold on the East Coast. Boston was good, I was there for 118 and Philly was fantastic. I had kind of forgot that until I rewatched Silva/Griffin and the crowd was outstanding. I'd love to see them go back.
In your opinion is Maia content to stand and trade or is he trying to get guys to the ground and just not able to do so? It seems like he just wants to box these last few fights but that makes no sense knowing how incredible his ground skills are.
Brett Okamoto (4:02 PM)
To be fair, he hasn't faced the easiest guys to get down. There was Mark Munoz (and he was very competitive in that fight). Weidman is not at all an easy guy to get down but that one was strange to me because he was getting beat on his feet. If you go in with a game plan of wanting to stand, you've got to be at least willing to switch things up if it's not working, even if you aren't as good on the ground as Maia is. So, that one made no sense to me. I don't know, I'd like to see him try to get things to the ground more than he has.
Brett, would I be realistic, assuming Silva wins, that he truly only has one fight left before retirement. He's cleaned out 185. Assume Silva makes the Jones/Silva fight for late this year/early next year, is there anything left after a Jones fight regardless of the outcome of that fight. Anderson is 38 by that time with no true challengers on the horizon.
Brett Okamoto (4:03 PM)
No, that's how I see it. If you win this rematch convincingly over Sonnen, then beat JJ, the future of this sport, there is absolutely nothing left to prove. Legacy is about as secure as it gets at that point, enjoy retirement.
mark (no where wyoming)
brett am buying my first ufc ppv besides the sonen fight is it worth it i mean griffin vs ortiz is 2 huge names but other than those 2 fights wheres the intrigue?
Brett Okamoto (4:05 PM)
This is one of those PPV you're kind of paying for the one fight. It's up to you if that one fight is worth it to you. Still though, the rest of this main card is better than what you typically see on a boxing card.
Roberto (Los Angeles)
If Chael wasn't such a talker, would anyone even believe he had a chance to beat Silva this time around? Or is it because Silva carries the Fedor type invincibility and no one would like to believe he can lose?
Brett Okamoto (4:06 PM)
The reason people believe Chael has a chance in this fight really doesn't have much to do with his talking. He talked a lot before the first fight and NOBODY gave him a chance in that one. As far as comparing Silva to Fedor ... there's a little bit of a similarity, but not really. Fedor won and won and won, but he didn't do what Anderson did in the sense where he was never in trouble. Fedor overcame adversity, so realistically, if you took emotions out you could anticipate he was going to lose at some point. Anderson just mows guys down. He's never in trouble. Except for when he fought Chael.
brandon tennessee [via mobile]
what is the reaction going to be if sonnen beats silva by ko in first round and would a loss to forrest really make you think that ortiz should have hung it up in his last fight
Brett Okamoto (4:09 PM)
The reaction will be exciting, man. Even the people who don't like Chael, would go crazy to see something like Anderson knocked out in the first round. That kind of thing would eclipse your personal feelings on who you wanted to win, I would think. As far as the Tito thing, truth is this guy could have hung up his gloves at any point in the past two years. This fight against Forrest is a fight that makes sense right now.
Hey Brett, So many people focus on the fact that Silva was 'dominated' by a guy four four and a half rounds and that's why this fight will be a similar tale, but there's VERY little focus on that fact that Silva was not only injured, but went into that fight telling one of his mentors that he would finish him via submission. You can tell Anderson is a set man, and slightly stubborn in his ways, where are the questions regarding this tactic he obviously put forth for their last fight?
Brett Okamoto (4:11 PM)
That's an interesting point and the fact he walked to the cage in a Gi that night is unbelievable, knowing now how everything went down. While I agree with you it's worth bringing up, however, I don't think that just because of that detail we can assume Anderson could have gotten up whenever he wanted to or defended the takedown easily had he wanted to. You know what I mean?
Mike (South Lake Tahoe)
So Hendo came into the UFC as the Pride Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champ. Wouldnt it be amazing (and this is possible) for him to retire as the UFC Light Heavyweight and UFC Middleweight champ!
Brett Okamoto (4:12 PM)
I think his days at 185 are most likely over. I'd settle for light heavyweight champ though if I was him. Beating Jon Jones? What a feather in the cap.
Brett, what are the chances that Sonnen actually finishes Silva? I wonder if Chael is going to be less agressive if he gets Silva on the ground based off what happened last time.
Brett Okamoto (4:13 PM)
There has been a focus on doing more damage from the top than he did in the first fight. He's such a high pace guy, which is a good thing, but that pace doesn't always translate to hard shots that really do damage. Wouldn't be surprised to see, in this fight, a slightly more tactical approach on top, with less strikes but more effective ones.
nate the gr8 (brooklyn ny)
Brett, i wonder if i am in the minority who want Chael to win because he comes across as a nice person who is good at promoting a fight. In interviews where he doesn't have to put on a show, he seems very genuine. In addition, him winning a championship for his father is the reason i root for him. Nothing against Anderson, i just want to see Chael win.
Brett Okamoto (4:15 PM)
I'm sure you're not the only one. Some people just don't like Anderson, too. My mom was in Vegas last week and she doesn't really follow the sport so I was basically giving her the Sonnen/Silva 101 class and after watching Silva fight, she didn't like him. Thinks he's cocky. I think Chael has strong support in this one actually. The stuff about his dad really is a great story, too. Especially when you meet some of the rest of his family and see how close he is to his mom.
cooper (new jersey)
hey brett, I've heard a lot of talk that TUF may do another comeback season like TUF 4...have you heard any rumors of this and if you have heard anything do you know what weight or who are the rumored coaches?
Brett Okamoto (4:16 PM)
Nothing concrete yet on that. TUF needs to produce better ratings, so any idea would likely be at least considered. I'll pass on anything I hear more official as decisions are made.
With Anderson this fired up, what is the likelihood he comes out guns blazing and tries to end the fight in the first minute with a barrage of strikes? He seemed to try this in the latter rounds of the first fight when he knew he was behind (even hurting Sonnen early in the 4th), but ultimately got taken down in the process.
Brett Okamoto (4:18 PM)
Yeah, one thing I noticed about Anderson in that first fight is, this guy doesn't have a lot of experience fighting from behind on scorecards. So, in some cases in that first fight, he did get too aggressive and allowed Chael to take him down. In the fourth, as you mentioned, Chael was BADLY hurt. That's really been overlooked. Anderson had a chance to finish the fight, but he followed Chael to the ground and Chael reversed him. If he gets down on the scorecards again, will he press? Because pressing against a guy like Chael is bad, because he's so good at getting the fight to the ground and then you lose morale because you're right back where you didn't want to be.
brett y is the griffin ortiz fight not bein talked about much iknow neither fighter is what they were a couple years ago but this is still a huge rivalry and ortizs last fight plus griffin is trying to prove he is still releavant do u agree this fight is kinda bein swept under the rug?
Brett Okamoto (4:20 PM)
Maybe a little MJ. But it just pales so much in comparison to what we have in the main event, which is one of the best fights (storyline-wise, styles-wise, characters-wise) we've seen in years, in my opinion. Plus, if you watched the first two fights, although I'm always down to see Tito and Forrest they are pioneers in this sport, neither of those two fights left me with this feeling of, "I have to watch these two go at it again!" It's a fight that makes sense but doesn't really spike the heart rate.
Brett - come on now - you're hedging with respect to calling Chael a cheater by saying there's no black or white evidence. Chael lied about submitting the paperwork, he lied about talking directly to Kizer (and then he threw Lindland under the bus) and of course he lied about not being on something. Chael was over FOUR times the OLYMPIC standard (the nevada standard is a joke) - and you don't get that way without SERIOUS abuse of either steroids or testosterone. I get that you have to interview Chael, but if you aren't going to call him for being a cheater, then just say ... no comment. Anything else is disingenuous at best...
Brett Okamoto (4:22 PM)
I will agree with you the whole situation did not put Chael in any kind of a good light and suspicions are warranted. But I'm a reporter and I have to report facts ... I can't say Chael was on steroids during that fight and 100 percent prove it. It's my job to report what took place and allow you guys to reach your own conclusion.
Chael looked bad against Bisping. If Anderson can follow Bisping's strategy and his other techniques, do you believe he can easily beat Chael?
Brett Okamoto (4:23 PM)
I think he'll take a page from that fight and try to work back to his feet in this fight rather than remain on his back. That wore Chael down. It's exhausting trying to get a fight to the ground over and over again and then trying to keep it there.
You dodging my picks? No Red Ink for the biggest card of the year? (ever?)
Brett Okamoto (4:24 PM)
Never Ed! Red Ink is out, it posted on the Fourth. If you have trouble finding it, check my Twitter account @bokamotoESPN and I'll post it today and tomorrow.
Quick throwback to that question about Melvin, do you think if he loses this one he maybe goes back to Greg Jackson?
Brett Okamoto (4:25 PM)
I don't know, I haven't spoken to Melvin leading up to this fight, but I kinda doubt it. He's close with Rashad and I gotta believe Michael Johnson is about as good a sparring partner at 155 you can get right now. Especially when you consider what Melvin needs to work on. I have no insight into it, but I'd guess he's comfortable with the Blackzillians.
what's you take on varner's chances vs. lauzon?
Brett Okamoto (4:26 PM)
Varner is consistently underrated. He's got okay submission defense and I would say his hands are better than Lauzon's. Lauzon will be dangerous early in that fight as he always is, but I'd actually probably favor Varner to win it.
How was it being at that press conference watching dana trying to keep those two separated
Brett Okamoto (4:27 PM)
Pretty cool. Mostly because it's Anderson. This guy is absolutely amazing to watch and now he's emotionally invested? This is great.
Cane (Rockwell NC)
Hey Brett any word on Gegard Mousasi? Would love to see him in the UFC....A "motivated" Mousasi matches up well with any 205 lb in the world.
Brett Okamoto (4:29 PM)
We'll see what happens with that. He's still under contract with Strikeforce and I believe that's where his next fight will take place. Eventually though one has to believe he'll move to the UFC and when he does, I think he'll hold his own but I don't see him as a real title threat to JJ.
I dont think it ends well for BJ against Rory, as I think Rory steamrolls him. Thoughts?
Brett Okamoto (4:30 PM)
Real tough fight for B.J. Have to stop short of completely counting him out, but stylistically I have a hard time playing this one out in my head in B.J.'s favor. If he pulls it off though? What a win. He'd jump right back into title contention, seriously. Maybe one win after that and he'd be right there.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
Moto. Let's talk Le v. Cote. I have a feeling that this won't be much different than Cungs last fight. If Cote can survive the first round, Cung will rn out of gas and get hammered. No?
Brett Okamoto (4:31 PM)
Yeah, Cung is different and different is dangerous. At this stage in their career's though, I think Cote will move better than Cung and I think he's actually got more power. Sometimes it's not the power that knocks you out though, it's the fact you don't see it coming, and Cung throws stuf you don't see coming. I like Cote but not by a landslide.
Bill (Kent, OH)
Just don't see Sonnen winning...he basically had the perfect storm in his first bout (steroids / busted ribs / etc.) and still lost. Silva is going to TKO him and I hope he gets a few shots similar to Rampage vs Wanderlei before the ref gets in there!
Brett Okamoto (4:33 PM)
Look at Bill, out for blood in this one.
Just wondeing if there was any word on whats next for Erick Silva? What kind of matchup would you make for the talented prospect?
Brett Okamoto (4:34 PM)
I wrote a column on potential fights for him after his last win, http://espn.go.com/blog/mma/post/_/id/12004/lots-of-options-for-fast-rising-erick-silva. I love Diego Sanchez, just because he's a guy who doesn't quit and always gives prospects like Silva a good test. Thiago Alves would be a really terrific fight stylistically.
Phil (Buffalo, NY)
I am so excited. Anderson Silva is an absolute assassin and this is going to be a surgical dismantling of a $@%!$@%!$. Doesn't everyone know why Silva looks so disinterested in fights sometimes? Because he's so far better than everyone he rarely has to try. Most fights it looks like he hardly expends effort until the 10 seconds leading up to the victory. This is gonna be like a scene in a movie.
Brett Okamoto (4:35 PM)
Maybe. I just don't see a one-sided fight tomorrow!
Too many people are sleeping ome Munoz, as Silva hasnt cleaned out 185 until hr beats Munoz. Chael GnP has nothing on Munoz's, and one of those donkey Kong punches could end Silva's reign.
Brett Okamoto (4:36 PM)
I'm with you Brian, but the general public probably isn't. At this point, with nobody certain how many more Silva fights we'll get, I'm okay with him skipping Munoz for bigger fish. That is no disrespect to Munoz, who I think is a great fighter, but if I only get 1 or 2 more Anderson fights, Munoz isn't on that list.
brett i noticed take away the silva fight this card still has alotta big names like maia mendes griffin just not really the right fights lots of quantity but not enough quality do u agree?
Brett Okamoto (4:38 PM)
Yeah, there are some names to get interested in but bottom line, none of these fights are major players in sorting out divisions, which is the type of fight we like. We want to see guys go up and down the ladder and get closer to title shots. These are kind of treading water fights in a sense. Remember, the card was supposed to have another title fight on it too, so it wasn't really by design the card relies so heavily on the main event.
who you got in the tito-forrest fight? I got forrest winning then fighting a bunch a "old-timers" to finish out his career, like rampage, and bonnar
Brett Okamoto (4:39 PM)
Make that two of us, John. I think Tito will have his moments early but Forrest will beat him as the fight goes on ... much like the first two.
Everyone is talking about what Silva will do differently this fight but in your mind what will Chael need to do differently?
Brett Okamoto (4:39 PM)
He's worked on staying out of the triangle and making his shots count more from the top. Other than that, rinse and repeat if you're CS.
Brett Okamoto (4:42 PM)
Alright guys, I'm gonna put a wrap on this thing and start heading over to Mandalay for the weigh-ins. Usually weigh-ins aren't a terribly important affair, but today I'd like to see how Chael looks after the weight cut and the staredown should be even better than Tuesday's. I recommend watching if you can. If you can't, ESPN will have a recap video up shortly after. Keep checking in, and hit us up tomorrow as we run a live chat during the fights. Thanks for hanging out, enjoy the weekend.
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