The story of Achilles is a familiar tale to anyone who has read the Iliad. The warrior seemed invincible except, it turned out, for a small portion of his leg. The vulnerable opening would prove to be his undoing and thus the term “Achilles’ heel” was coined.

Every MMA fighter has their own Achilles’ heel. There’s always one glaring hole in virtually every fighter’s game. For Chael Sonnen, it’s clearly his submission defense. The trait has plagued his career at every turn and could very well come into play again this weekend at UFC 148.

The main reasoning in this belief lies in what happened when Anderson Silva and Sonnen first met at UFC 117 in 2010. Sonnen controlled every second of the fight until the final minutes of the last round. Not content to simply stall en route to a decision victory, Sonnen continued his onslaught of offense against the champion.

As any MMA fan knows by now, Sonnen would be put into a triangle armbar and be forced to tap.

Sonnen’s over-aggressiveness while on top only leads to more openings for his opponent to use their jiu-jitsu. His unwillingness at times to pass his opponent’s guard also enhances the chances of Sonnen being tapped out.

Fans love the fact that Sonnen is a strong wrestler who outworks his opponent from the top. He doesn’t simply lay and pray on his opponents, instead choosing to deliver a barrage of strikes that give Sonnen’s foes little time to rest.

This strategy has produced a number of great victories for Sonnen, but has also given him a number of losses as well. Of Sonnen’s 11 losses, eight have come via submission. Looking at Sonnen’s record, it seems every time the Oregonian gets a bit of momentum started, he falls into the same trap.

It does seem as though Sonnen has learned from these mistakes and at least attempted to work on his submission game. He was able to fend off a pair of tight guillotine chokes in his bout with Nate Marquardt and used his own submission maneuver to tap out Brian Stann at UFC 136.

Everyone makes mistakes, and Sonnen has certainly made his fair share with jiu-jitsu players. The important part is to learn from those mistakes, something Sonnen can prove by not falling into “The Spider’s” trap once more at UFC 148.

Photo: Chael Sonnen is trapped in a guillotine choke (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.