You could see a disastrous effort in the offing when Paulo Filho missed weight yesterday by seven pounds. The WEC middleweight champ suffered the first loss of his career and didn't look very interested while doing so against Chael Sonnen at WEC 36.
After playing with fire a bit in the first round Sonnen made Filho, a jiu-jitsu specialist who is lethal on the ground, stand for the remainder of the fight. Filho was exhausted and didn't do anything of an offensive nature the rest of the way as Sonnen peppered him with jabs for 10 minutes to close the fight. Sonnen won a unanimous decision (30-27 on all three cards) but does not pick up Filho's belt in this non-title bout.
The belt was taken off the table and the fight was shortened from five rounds to three when Filho eventually checked over the limit on Tuesday at 189 lbs. It's irrelevant, the WEC is eliminating the division in 2009. Chances are that both Sonnen and Filho will be added to the UFC's middleweight roster. Dana White and Co. may want to look into Filho's personal issues. He was in rehab earlier this year for depression and substance abuse problems. No one misses weight in MMA by that much without a bigger issue they're dealing with.
Filho (16-1) never appeared to be into the fight mentally. In final 90 seconds, Filho looked dazed repeatedly looking off to various sides of the cage. It prompted WEC color voice Frank Mir to flip out:
"What is he looking at? I feel like I'm watching the movie with Woody Harrelson (where) he's like talking to jesus or something."
I'd be curious to see what happens with Filho's post-fight drug test. He really appeared to be disoriented at times. This should've been a crowning moment for Sonnen, who beat a guy ranked in most fight experts' top 5 worldwide at 185. Sonnen didn't have a joyous look on his face in the ring after the victory. Maybe he was thinking the win was a little hollow with Filho not at his best.
Photo via CombatLifestyle.com