by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Chael Sonnen has been waiting for a rematch with World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight titleholder Paulo Filho every since he was defeated by the Brazilian at WEC 31 on Dec. 12, 2007.
The two were supposed to square off again at WEC 33 but Filho was forced out of the bout due to personal issues just eleven days before the March 26 scheduled event. Wed. night, Sonnen got his second chance.
The Team Quest trained fighter exacted his revenge with a one-sided decision win, handing Filho his first mixed martial arts loss. Sonnen won the fight, but Filho’s belt was not on the line because Filho failed to make weight, officially tipping the scales at 189, four pounds over the 185-pound limit.
While the fight was anything but a crowd-pleaser, Sonnen fought a smart game plan and cruised to victory. The opening round Sonnen landed jabs and leg kicks before going into Filho’s guard. After Filho worked for an arm bar, they way he previously defeated Sonnen, Chael stood up and peppered the downed Filho with kicks to the lower body.
The second stanza was much like the first with Sonnen landing jabs at will. Filho pulled guard twice, but Sonnen had none of it forcing the Rio de Janeiro resident to stand where Filho was unable get anything going. The final round was all Sonnen with the crowd voicing their displeasure with the pace of the fight.
All three judges scored it 30-27 for Sonnen. The rematch was a big win for Sonnen’s career and left questions about where Paulo Filho fits into the middleweight division. Ranked No. 2 in the world heading into WEC 36, Filho’s status will definitely drop.