by Samantha L. Johnson for MMAWeekly.com
Mark Munoz is co-headlining UFC on Versus 2 on Sunday against Yushin Okami in San Diego, Calif. Just six days later, Anderson “The Spider” Silva is defending the middleweight title against Chael Sonnen in Oakland, Calif., at UFC 117. To help prepare for Sonnen’s high
level wrestling, Silva has been training with Munoz, a former Division 1 National Champion.
“We help each other tremendously,” Munoz told MMAWeekly Radio. “He’s helped me in my last couple of fights and I’ve been helping him sporadically because he was in Brazil most of the time and he’d come here for a week or two and I’d help him out. Now he’s out here, training out here in L.A., and we’re getting together two to three times a week. He’s as important to me as I am to him.”
Okami is a southpaw, like Silva, and Sonnen is a high-level wrestler, like Munoz. The pair training together seems like a match made in heaven. Going back and forth between his own gym, Reign Training Center, in Lake Forest, Calif., and Black House in Los Angeles, Munoz is able to get the help and training he needs to face Okami, as well as help Anderson prepare for, arguably, the biggest challenge of his career.
Silva’s background is jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, and while he’s been fighting for 10 years, “The Spider” has never really focused on wrestling or wrestling defense.
“He’s been doing pretty well,” said Munoz of Silva. “He learns really quick, obviously. He’s an elite athlete and he’s become a student of the sport. As much as I come in, he wants to wrestle and just to learn wrestling. He knows wrestling is a sport where you have to have experience to be able to be versed in the techniques. He knows that, so he wants to be versed enough to be able to implement his style.”
L. Johnson is a freelance writer originally from Southeast Idaho, currently living in Las Vegas, NV. Visit her www.sxjohnson.net for her ramblings of on living in the MMA Mecca.