When Chael Sonnen stepped into the Bellator cage against a 253 pound Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, he looked like a much smaller middleweight, which of course is exactly what he is.
Sonnen’s participation in the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament has much more to do with his status as one of the promotion’s biggest draws rather than any legitimate reason. But that didn’t stop him from decisioning Jackson, winning their fight two rounds to one on all three judges’ scorecards.
Chael went over the difficulties of being the smallest man in the tournament in the latest episode of The MMA Hour.
“I learned a lot of stuff in that fight as far as progressing through this tournament,” Sonnen said. “Particularly, the division. The heavyweights. I’ve gotta change some stuff.”
”I need different angles. I blasted him a couple times with like a double leg tackle and he just stood there. And I mean, nothing happened at all. And it was as hard as I could penetrate. But when I found some angles, I was able to get him down. It was just totally different.”
That squares with what we witnessed in round one of their fight, where Sonnen was unable to wrestle “Rampage” at all. Quinton even caught Chael by the leg at one point and tossed him to the canvas like a rag doll, a moment that left us wondering whether “The West Linn Gangster” had bitten off more than he could chew in this tournament.
But in the second, he managed to catch Rampage with a trip that allowed him to get on top for the majority of the round. It was a similar trip in round 3 that probably won Sonnen the fight, but not before “Rampage” had tenderized his ribs with a flurry of body shots against the cage.
”I am in pain,” he admitted. “For 15 minutes, I don’t know if he ever touched my face. He touched my body non-stop. My chest hurts, my body hurts … I was kind of suffering through that press conference a little bit and just trying to get out of there. I was trying to maintain my composure when really i just wanted to lay down and go ‘ahhh!’ Scream out in some discomfort. That’s what that was.”
Sonnen will have to adjust his tactics and prepare his body for more heavyweight damage, as his opponent in the next round will be the winner of a Frank Mir vs. Fedor Emelianenko fight on April 28th.