SAT. UPDATE: Surprise in weekend WWE title bout, Claimed economic impact of tonight's show, ratings



By Dave Meltzer

We're looking for your thoughts on tonight’s UFC 148, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
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We’re also looking for reports on tonight’s Raw show from Lubbock (John Cena vs. Big Show cage match, Primo & Epico vs. R-Truth & Kofi Kingston, Santino Marella vs. William Regal) and tonight’s Smackdown show in El Paso, as well as last night’s Raw show in Amarillo.

Tonight’s lineup:

Facebook fight at 7:30 p.m.

Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-1, 156) vs. Rafaello Oliveira (14-5, 156).

On FX at 8 p.m.

Shane Roller (10-6, 155) vs. John Alessio (34-15, 156)
Riki Fukuda (18-5, 185) vs. Constantinos Philippou (10-2, 1 no contest, 186)
Melvin Guillard (46-11-3, 155) vs. Fabricio Camoes (13-6-1, 156)
Khabib Nurmagomedov (17-0, 155) vs. Gleison Tibau (34-7, 155)

PPV at 10 p.m.

Ivan Menjivar (24-6, 136) vs. Mike Easton (12-1,135)
Chad Mendes (11-1, 146) vs. Cody McKenzie (13-2, 145)
Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1, 1 no contest, 170) vs. Demian Maia (15-4, 170)
Cung Le (7-2, 185) vs. Patrick Cote (18-7, 185)
Tito Ortiz (17-10-1, 204) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-7, 204)
Anderson Silva (29-4, 184) vs. Chael Sonnen (25-11-1, 185) for the middleweight title

TNA's Destination X PPV will be Sunday from Orlando

- Lars Only (Johnny Yuma) vs. Mason Andrews (Scorpio Sky) vs. Rubix (Jigsaw) vs. Dakota Darsow. Winner advances to the X division title tournament
- Four singles matches as the tournament first round with the opening match winner joining Kid Kash, Doug Williams, Zema Ion, Sonjay Dutt, Rashad Cameron (Jeez), Kenny King and Flip Casanova (Flip Kendrick)
--The winners of the four singles matches in an Ultimate X match for the championship
- Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe in the Bound for Glory series with a 15:00 time limit
- A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels last man standing
- Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries for TNA title

Sunday has a WWE joint branded show in Rio Rancho, NM.

Monday has a combined Raw and Smackdown taping in Denver at the Pepsi Center.

UFC has another show on Wednesday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose headlined by Chris Weidman vs. Mark Munoz.

A look at Chael Sonnen before one of the biggest fights in UFC history, updated news on the WWE Network including lots of details that haven't been reported elsewhere about the new business model, the risk factors involved, surveys being taken, price points, flagship programming and more, as well as a history of the Olympics, pro wrestling and MMA headline the new double-issue of the Wrestling Observer.

This is our traditional every four year issue when it comes to pro wrestlers in the Olympics and MMA fighters in the Olympics.

The issue also includes coverage of the combined All Japan and New Japan joint show, and the story behind it that could change Japanese wrestling, more on what led to New Jack vs. Balls Mahoney, the story behind TNA ratings and why they are down, new WWE jobs offered and an update on Rock's first match back in nearly eight years back in November and where he stands now among Hollywood elite over the last 12 months.

The issue will be on the site today if you are a web site member. We also have a new back issue on the site from 1995 which covers the biggest wrestling crowds in history with coverage of the original World Wrestling Peace Festival put on by New Japan with help from WCW, the debut of someone who went on to be one of the biggest drawing cards of the last decade, and all the news from WCW, ECW and WWF from that time period.

The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.

The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the
major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

Your guide to Silva vs. Sonnen's feud, how it started, what is and isn't real, news coverage, business notes, ticket demand, records set by the first fight, a record that will be set by the second fight, a look back at the first fight and more leads off the issue.

We look at the biggest grudge matches in UFC history, why this fight will not fully reach its potential as a PPV draw, where Anderson Silva stood at the time of the first fight, what happened after the fight, what recent fights have shown about each guy, and who is Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva is looked at.
 
We update the WWE network with notes on the latest plans, price ranges and what looks to be the best as well as ideas for the price range right now. We look at the flagship programming and how this changes the very dynamic of how WWE does it business. We look at a WWE channel vs. UFC, the attempts to get clearance for the station and how they expect to mobilize the fan base, how PPV will change for the fans and the wrestlers once the networks starts, and other new programming ideas.
 
We also run down the All Japan and New Japan show at Sumo Hall, as well as guest stars for the Tokyo Dome, new grudge matches, and match-by-match coverage.
 
We also look at what pro wrestler likely made the most money over the last 12 months, an update on Survivor Series numbers, plans for A.J., Linda McMahon's senate run and what has happened over the past week, Brock Lesnar's return, how John Laurinaitis' real -life power base is doing right now, notes on WWE asking Bruno Sammartino to be in the Hall of Fame this coming year and why it's not happening, who is planned to get a major push upon his return, wrestler quits WWE and why, more on the Money in the Bank PPV, tons of developmental news including who new talent is, business notes for the past week as well as notes from the weekend house
shows.

As our Olympic issue, we look back at the three big names that came out of the last Olympics and became MMA stars, where they were four years ago, what we covered about them in that issue, who did good, why they didn't go back, and why so many Olympic medalists do worse in fighting and wrestling than those who don't place.

We also look at how the Olympics and pro wrestling have changed greatly over the last 16 years with the emergence of MMA. We also look at people who came out of the last Olympics and didn't do so well in MMA.

We look back at the first Olympic gold medalist to become a pro wrestling star, as well as the last. We look at the 11 pro wrestling Hall of Famers as well as a number of Hall of Fame candidates who came from the Olympics.

We also look at the toughest men in the country before there was MMA, and talk about all kinds of wrestling legends from Verne Gagne, Danny Hodge and Robin Reed.
 
We look back at Hodge's career, what goal he talked about when it came to going for three gold medals, why it never happened, and how he was led into pro wrestling. We also look at the pro wrestling legend who went to the Olympics only 18 months after he had taken up wrestling.

We look at one of the greatest heels in wrestling history who few knew had an Olympic wrestling background. We look at the Olympians who have done both pro wrestling and MMA, including a wrestler who faced Kurt Angle in the Olympics and later set a TV ratings record in Japan for a fight with Bob Sapp.
 
We look at well known pro wrestlers, and others who were not as well known, with their Olympic backgrounds. We look at a pro wrestler who came out of the Olympics who was in one of the most famous TV commercials of its time.

We look at pro wrestlers who came out of sports like rowing, boxing and bobsled racing.

We also look at pro wrestlers who were affected by the 1980 Olympic boycott.

We look at the era when pro wrestlers were not allowed in the Olympics, when it changed, and what active pro wrestlers went back and not only tried out for the Olympics, but made the team, and in one case even won a silver medal.

We also look at the name with the closest ties to modern pro wrestling who will be competing in London in a few weeks.

We also have a list of every former Olympian currently in both pro wrestling and MMA, and what former gold medal winner turned down a pro wrestling offer that would have made him among the highest paid athletes in the country at the time.

We also have a listing of every pro wrestler and MMA fighter who ever won a medal in Olympic competition.
 
We note the regulars, as well as the gimmick guys who did pro wrestling, including pro wrestling matches for people like Ali, Frazier and Karelin.

We look at the two men in the 70s who were Olympic heroes that became among the highest paid wrestlers of their time, but were truly never as big a stars as their promoters hoped.

We look at the twin brothers who almost surely would have been pro wrestling stars in the AWA, but when they were done competing, that group had folded.

We look at the first Olympic gold medalist to win the world heavyweight title, and it
wasn't Kurt Angle, as well as the silver medalist who fell into a world title.

We also look at another silver medalist whose most famous pro wrestling match was one of the highest profile shoot matches in the last century.

We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and Impact this past week did.

We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as previews of all the major television shows.

Also in this week's issue:

--What gimmick drew the second biggest full priced crowd of the year at Arena Mexico

--What current headliners son has just gotten started in pro wrestling but he's under a mask and its being kept quiet

--AAA continues to build for TripleMania and how TNA talent is involved in the storyline

--Vampiro talks his latest comeback

--Notes on All Japan's annual junior heavyweight tournament

--Former WCW wrestler and now a Japanese star about to celebrate a career milestone

--TNA sends talent to NOAH and a look at the company's next big card

--Grandsons of one of pro wrestling's biggest legends are about to debut in Japan

--Notes on the biggest New Japan shows of July

--The first ever singles match with Tiger Mask vs. Onita

--What was the promotion that beat UFC and WWE into a live paying show in China

--What former WWE star headlines that show

--Notes on the Extreme Rising second and third show

--More on New Jack and Balls Mahoney

--Who did well, who will be back and plans going forward

--A look at some of the new wrestling books coming out over the next several
months

--Former WWE and ECW star beginning a new promotion

--90s star competes in another sport of late

--An indie group goes to Moscow and what former WWE star are they building around
--Hackers take over wrestler twitter accounts

--Notes on the next several weeks of ROH television and a major star off this summer
--A look at the weekend ROH shows

--Notes on TNA ratings and what the ratings show about the fan base and live vs. tape

--Update on TNA's lawsuit against WWE

--Notes on Angelina Love and Shannon Moore being gone from TNA

--Update on Destination X

--Update on the Bound for Glory series

--Lots of notes on the TNA Gut Check

--Claire Lynch angle in TNA

--How TNA shows do on DVR

--Kurt Angle has comments about the 2016 Olympics that may surprise you

--UFC's international expansion

--UFC fighters up for Espy awards

--What happened to the UFC web site hacker who feuded with Dana White

--Details of UFC's lawsuit against individuals who watched their PPVs on illegal
streams

--Notes on Ultimate Fighter coming up, when it's being taped and when it starts

--Feuding camps

--Update on Georges St. Pierre

--Two well known stars issue challenges to each other this past week for a Toronto fight

--Even more injuries

--Update on Bellator TV situation

--Notes on One FC trying to become Asia's leading MMA group

--MMA group gets a strong television deal

--Former NCAA champion training for MMA

--Former boxing star says he's moving to MMA

--Former Japanese MMA star retires

--Resurrection in name only of one of the 90s leading groups

--Nephew of a sports legend tries MMA

New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story.

We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.

Our most requested issues in our history are:

*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)

*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)

*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)

*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)

*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)

*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)

*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)

*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)

*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)

*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)

*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)

*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)

*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)

*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)

*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)

*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)

*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)

*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)

*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)

*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)

*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)

*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)

*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)

*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)

*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)

*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)

*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)

*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)

*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)

*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)

*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)

*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)

*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)

*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)

*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)

*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)

*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)

*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)

*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)

*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)

*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)

*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)

*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)

*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)

*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)

*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)

*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)

*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)

*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)

*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)

*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)

*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)

*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)

*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)

*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)

*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)

*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)

*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)

*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)

*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)

*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling)
.

*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)

*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)

*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)

*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)

*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)

*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)

* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)

* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)

* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)

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We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods.

To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.

Saturday’s news updates

–Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio covering the UFC show.  We’ve got a show up for today talking about Kenny King’s situation, Bruno Sammartino and talking about tonight’s show.

–Thursday’s Impact rating was a 1.0.  A lot more viewers per home than in previous weeks which speaks to the lesser competition compared to the last past month. 

–A Las Vegas newspaper article claimed that this weekend, between the UFC, the Fan Expo and all the other UFC activities will bring $140 million in economic impact to the city.  I guess that means those WrestleMania $60 million figures next year have to come up with a survey that more than doubles that number.

–A USA Today headline yesterday claimed that Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen was the biggest fight of all-time in a quote.  The quote was from quite the unbiased source:  Chael Sonnen. Joe Rogan at the weigh-ins did call it the biggest fight in UFC history.  It is a big fight and is strongly probability to be the biggest PPV this year that doesn't involve Mayweather or Pacquiao.

--Regarding ESPN coverage, I saw three cycles of Sports Centre last night.  In two of them,the show wasn't even mentioned once.  In the other, they did a video feature of Sonnen quotes and did cover it, so it's not ignored, but it sure isn't covered big or like it's a major sports event.  The coverage was nothing close to the level of a big fight when ESPN was still in the hunt as far as getting UFC.    

–At yesterday’s Dragon Gate show at Korakuen Hall in Japan, Pac bowed to all corners like he was bidding his farewell.  He did get a WWE tryout recently and would fit in well with TNA given he’s better than virtually all the X division guys they have, plus he’s British and TNA really could use a genuine younger British guy they can push as a superstar.

–There will be a one hour special this coming Thursday at 7 p.m. called Impact Rewind, which I guess will serve as a preview for the live show.  I guess it’s a way to try and get the audience with the show by 8 p.m.  Even after all these weeks, they’ve still had a problem getting the last 15% or so of the audience to start the show before 9 p.m.

–Maryland Championship Wrestling tonight in Dundalk, MID at the New Green Room features Matt Hardy.

–William Regal is on the road with the WWE Raw squad, working with Santino Marella in U.S. title matches.  The Raw show last night and tonight are really weak in star power with Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Kane and pretty much every major star who is touring this week besides John Cena and Big Show on the Smackdown tour.  Sunday they are doing only one show with the stars from both tours.

–The story going around that a lot of WWE wrestlers are in town for the UFC show, but there couldn’t be too many since both are on tour.  Evan Bourne is in Las Vegas.  He looks completely unrecognizable.

–Daniel Bryan’s submission trainer, Neal Melansen, worked with Chael Sonnen on his
submission defense.

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