Article

Silva Gets Last Word

“I knew that I was losing the first four rounds,” said Silva, who made the seventh successful defense of his title. “Chael put on a helluva fight tonight.”
OAKLAND, CA, August 7 – Chael Sonnen promised that he would give UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva a fight in their UFC 117 main event Saturday night at Oracle Arena and he lived up to his word as he dominated the first four rounds of their bout. But in the fifth, it was Silva pulling off an incredible triangle choke that allowed him to retain his title and get the last word on the challenger.

“I knew that I was losing the first four rounds,” said Silva, who made the seventh successful defense of his title. “Chael put on a helluva fight tonight.”

“It was a tough fight, he’s a tough guy - I came in second,” said Sonnen, whose pre-fight trash talk reached epic proportions and also made this one of the most highly-anticipated bouts of the year.

And it lived up to its billing.

Steel-faced, Sonnen seemed to be on a rush to make it into the Octagon for the biggest fight of his career. Silva, on the other hand, was as cool as ever, bowing to the crowd as he made his walk into battle. Sonnen impatiently paced, pointing at and calling for Silva as he waited.

He would have his chance soon enough, as referee Josh Rosenthal called both men to the center of the Octagon. Sonnen immediately closed the gap on Silva, but was unable to get him to the mat. He didn’t need to, as a left hand rocked Silva briefly, forcing the champion to get the fight to the mat as he looked to clear his head. After a few seconds, the two rose, and Sonnen continued to land with strikes until taking Silva down hard and pinning him against the fence. There, Sonnen unleashed ground strikes on Silva, who was in the most trouble of his UFC career. By the midway point, it looked like Silva had cleared his head, even though Sonnen kept landed with punches while looking for a choke. After spinning out of trouble briefly, Silva fell back into danger courtesy of the challenger’s fists, and the crowd erupted. Finally, the bell rang, giving Silva a much-needed break from the assault.

Silva came out fast for round two, intent on getting his respect from Sonnen. But after losing his balance, Silva was put on his back again, and Sonnen fired away again, even resorting to boxing Silva’s ears and slamming him as the champion tried to hang on and force a restart. With none forthcoming, Silva tried to land some elbows from the bottom as Sonnen peppered him, but the shots were having no effect on the Oregon native. Instead, Sonnen seemed to get stronger as the round progressed, with Silva having no answers for him. With under a minute to go, Silva finally made his move, almost locking up Sonnen’s arm, but it was not to be, and the bell soon intervened.

A big right hand from Silva opened up round three as Sonnen rushed him, and he followed up seconds later with a spinning back kick. None seemed to affect Sonnen, who took Silva back to the mat. A series of knees to the thigh and punches to the head followed, with Silva making no attempt to escape. With 1:30 gone, the champion was able to escape, but he still wound up in the bottom position as the crowd chanted the challenger’s name.  Sonnen kept his followers happy with more ground strikes, wrapping up another one-sided round in his favor.

Silva finally got the fight where he wanted it in round four, rocking Sonnen with a series of bad intentioned strikes before getting the challenger on his back. But his furious assault may have gassed him out, as Sonnen cleared his head and reversed position on “The Spider”. While on his back, Silva tried to hold on to force a restart, but Sonnen’s continued activity made that an impossibility, as he landed with whatever strikes he had at his disposal. Silva gamely fought back from the bottom, opening a nasty cut over Sonnen’s left eye, but as the bell rang, he would only have five minutes to save his crown.

A short left hand knocked Silva off balance and down early in the final stanza, and Sonnen immediately pounced on him and continued the attack that had won him the first four rounds.  Again, Silva tried to potshot from the bottom, but it was clear that he was going to need a miracle to win the belt. Well, with a little more than two minutes to go, he got it, as he sunk in a triangle choke. Sonnen tried to resist, but he eventually tapped at the 3:10 mark. And though Sonnen protested the tap, replays showed otherwise, and the belt remained in the hands of the pride of Curitiba.

With the win, Silva, who claimed a rib injury almost kept him out of the bout, improves to 27-4; Sonnen falls to 26-11-1



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