Chael Sonnen The UFC has reportedly booked a high-profile light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as the co-main event of UFC 161, according to Brazilian outlet Globo. Sonnen takes the fight on less than two weeks’ notice after Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was forced to pull out of the fight with “Shogun” yesterday due to a back injury, as the event takes place on June 15 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Sonnen vs. “Shogun” is a very intriguing matchup between one of the best wrestlers in the 205-pound division in Sonnen and one of the best strikers in the division in “Shogun.” Judging from social media reaction to this fight announcement, fans are split on how the fight will go, with many thinking Sonnen can score takedowns and win a decision and others thinking that “Shogun” finishes off Sonnen with strikes. I think the fight will be fairly close in terms of betting lines, with “Shogun” opening around -185 and Sonnen around +145, but I could easily see the public eating up the plus money on Sonnen and bringing this fight down to a Pick ’em. It’s a close fight, but because “Shogun” has had a full training camp I lean towards him having a bit better conditioning and being able to tire Sonnen out and finish him off in the second or third round with knees and/or punches. But if he shows up the fight in decent-enough shape, I could also see Sonnen being able to get the takedowns and winning a three-round decision. It should be a great fight either way, though. UPDATE: The UFC announced late Monday night that “Shogun” has been pulled from the UFC 161 card and will fight at an upcoming event, and the rumor is that he’ll take on Sonnen in the main event of UFC on FOX Sports 1 1. It’s definitely a bummer we won’t see this fight next week, but it’s not surprising it didn’t come to fruition considering the short notice of the bout and fact that Sonnen is a wrestler and “Shogun” was training for a striker. Machida vs. Davis Set For UFC 163 Additionally, the UFC has booked a light heavyweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Phil Davis for the upcoming UFC 163 card. MMAjunkie.com confirmed plans of the fight with sources close to the event, a fight that will likely serve as the co-main event for UFC 163. This is another very interesting matchup as far as styles go as you have the striker Machida against the dynamic wrestler Davis. Still, I think you have to favor Machida’s incredible striking and solid takedown defense in this fight, and although Davis’ striking is improving, it’s still not even close to the level of Machida’s and if he choose to stand with him he’ll get knocked out. But if fights smarts and chooses to wrestle exclusively, then Davis definitely has a shot at the upset. Expect Machida to open around -200, with the comeback on Davis being around +150. I think the public may like Machida in this fight like the typically do and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him climb north of 2-to-1, but Davis can definitely not be counted out of this fight because he has the high-level wrestling that can nullify Machida’s elusive striking game so he’ll definitely be worth a look at as a dog if he gets to a  high-enough plus number. Expect the odds for “Shogun” vs. Sonnen to be released sometime this week and the odds for Machida vs. Davis to open in the next month or two.


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