Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Another day, another fight on the Main Card of UFC 98 to put under the microscope. This time, IFL veteran Dan Miller steps in to the cage with former WEC standout Chael Sonnen.
Time to break it down.
Dan Miller (11-1, 1 NC) versus Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)
Chael Sonnen has been around the sport for a long time. So long, in fact, that he was a member of Team Quest before it was even called Team Quest.
He's fought an impressive list of competitors in various weight classes, having stepped in with light heavyweights like "Babalu" Sobral and Trevor Prangley, as well as matching up with known middleweight entities like Paulo Filho and Demian Maia.
While Miller is not a newcomer to the cage, he certainly doesn't have the time in the ring the veteran Sonnen does, as this will mark the 14th fight of his professional career. That being said, experience isn't the only thing that counts when the cage door closes.
For starters, Miller hasn't lost in three years, during which time he dominated in the IFL and has put together three straight wins under the UFC banner. Included in those fights is an early submission win over highly-touted Jake Rosholt and a decision win over tough Matt Horwich.
Sonnen, on the other hand, dropped his last contest inside the first round to jiu jitsu ace Demian Maia. While that loss was preceded by two wins, the Paulo Fihlo that fought Sonnen at the close of the WEC middleweight division was far from the dominant Fihlo who had previously been unbeaten.
Truth be told, that WEC history of Sonnen's scares me, as I have yet to see anyone make the transition from what can only have been considered the UFC's minor leagues to the big stage successfully. Outside of Steve Cantwell's initial win, I can't think of one guy who has come over and had his hand raised.
Then there is Miller, who seems to do nothing but win. Four straight and ten consecutive fights without a loss if you're counting. The only blemish is a No Contest against Mike Guerin at Ring of Combat 18 two years ago.
While there is sure to be some game plan changes for Miller now that Sonnen has replaced original opponent and perennially injured Yushin Okami, the switch came early enough that there shouldn't be any miscues from Camp Miller.
Same goes for Sonnen, but he knew exactly what he was getting into when he faced off against Demian Maia too and still he was caught in a triangle and forced to tap by the middle of the first round.
Final prediction Saturday, but I think you can see which way I'm leaning.