More surprising than Chael Sonnen defeating Rampage Jackson Saturday was how he did it.
Chael Sonnen surprised many by picking up a unanimous decision win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Saturday at Bellator 192. The main event battle was the opening fight of Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix 2018. What was more surprising than the win, however, was the amount of time Sonnen spent engaging on the feet. Despite the going theory that Sonnen would be looking for the takedown, constantly, given Rampage’s power, the first round was more of a kickboxing match.
Sonnen, addressing the media following Saturday night’s big win, addressed his approach and more.
The good news, beyond the win, is the time Sonnen now has to heal up. “If Rampage and I got lucky, anywhere, it’s that we got to go first” Sonnen said. “So we’ll have the most recovery.”
As for the surprising amount of time Sonnen spent engaging on the feet, he stated that “I don’t know if i ever thought about it too much, but I always try to punch my way in and get close, see where the other guy’s at and set him up.” He also pointed out that “I think I’ve boxed more than any of these guys have. I don’t know if they’ve ever competitively boxed. I used to competitively box. It’s definitely plan B for me, but I know how to box.”
That said, he later added “I felt like it was a really hard fight, and I felt like finding that range was really important. Because I stepped in it a couple of times, I got too close and he hit really hard. Whether you could see it or not I’ll tell you he hit really hard.” In the end it was all about finding his range. “I was trying to find out where to be, and it was a bit of a process.”
“I kind of needed all three rounds to do it, quite frankly” he said of figuring out his Bellator 192 foe.
Next up for Sonnen will be the winner of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir. That fight will take place in April in Chicago.