The intense feud between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will finally be settled in the Octagon. Both fighters will act as coaches for season three of the Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The official announcement was made on FOX Sports Live by UFC president Dana White. The two have a long-running feud that was ratcheted up by Sonnen’s derogatory comments about Brazil during his battles with then middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Last month, the pair got into a much publicized confrontation at the Olympia Expo event in Las Vegas.
Both fighters are no strangers to the TUF format. “The American Gangster” coached against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in Season 17, while Silva coached against Vitor Belfort in the initial TUF: Brazil. Filming is set to begin in early 2014, and their matchup will take place at the conclusion of the season. Sonnen and Jones were actually rather cordial during their season together; that won’t be the case with Silva.
It will definitely be interesting to see the reaction that Sonnen will receive in Brazil, and how things go during the show in his dealings with the fighters. He showcased some strong coaching skills in the season with Jones and seemed to genuinely care about the participants. It makes you wonder how high the tensions will run during the filming of the reality program as the combination of Sonnen with Silva is a combustible one.
With all that being said, Sonnen can’t allow this news to distract him in preparations for what will be a tough challenge at UFC 167 when he takes on former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
“Suga” is looking to string together back to back wins after registering a decision victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 161. The victory against Henderson was vital as it snapped a two-fight losing skid. Evans says he’s feeling re-energized and is looking to make one more run at the title. He has a strong wrestling background and has previously shown some power in the striking department.
Those are two more reasons why Sonnen can’t be looking too far down the road to his coaching gig and bout against Silva. While Sonnen and Evans are friends and broadcast colleagues, they will be putting that friendship aside when they appear on the organization’s 20th anniversary event.
Sonnen ended a three-fight losing streak with a first-round submission win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 26. While Sonnen was remarkably reserved and respectful of Rua entering that fight, he immediately morphed into his WWE-like persona after the win by calling out Silva.
Silva responded in kind, and no doubt the battle against Sonnen will have him rejuvenated and raring to go. The veteran Brazilian has been looking for this fight for quite some time now and will be thrilled to finally have a chance to get his hands on Sonnen.
Silva’s been recovering from an injury and hasn’t fought since a thrilling knockout victory over Brian Stann. Silva’s second-round stoppage of Stann in Japan earned Knockout and Fight of the Night honors. While Silva knows his next opponent, Sonnen can’t afford to look past Evans.
If he does, Sonnen might come to regret it on November 16. After that night, Sonnen and “The Axe Murderer” can then finally get down to business and begin the hype for what will be a highly-anticipated affair.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports