The UFC announced earlier this week that the third season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter Brazil’ will feature Wanderlei Silva as a coach opposite American Chael Sonnen. The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, as UFC President Dana White had been vocally against the idea in the press, but it appears that Sonnen has talked himself into another high profile fight. The two coaches will obviously face off at a UFC main event after the season is over. This is going to be a very difficult match to set the line on, however Sonnen would probably be favored if all things were equal.
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But all things will not be equal. Wanderlei Silva has not been all that impressive in his win-loss record with the UFC, but he is an exciting fighter that the fans react to. He is near the end of his career, but he is still very dangerous if properly motivated.
And over his career, few people motivate from emotion in the MMA game more than Silva. It can be seen even from his earliest days in the IVC, that Silva gets off on the intimidation of his opponents. He isnt afraid to get in your face, and he normally fights well when motivated by his opponent’s antics (well, except that Belfort fight). Fighting in Brazil again will be highly motivational to Silva, and give him a homefield advantage that is hard to quantify. One Jake Shields hug fest against Demian Maia does not end the jinx of foreigners fighting in Brazil, and Silva will feed off the audience, who will be very anti-Sonnen.
And Sonnen has given Silva a lot to be motivated by. Sonnen, in the end, is a professional, and he is a guy who wants to do the hard work. Certainly, the Brazilians he winds up coaching will benefit from his wrestling and overall gamesmanship.
When the lines are set, they will likely come out close to a toss up. The TUF series is stale in the USA right now, even the Ronda Rousey effect hasn’t made it less boring after 18 seasons, however it is season 3 in Brazil, and this will be big. Look for Silva versus Sonnen to be the biggest fight ever held on Brazilian soil.