by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It looked like the reign of Anderson Silva had come to an end.
For all the trash talk, bad mouthing and verbal bashing that Chael Sonnen unleashed on the UFC middleweight champion, the former All-American from Oregon backed up every word for 20+ minutes of their title bout at UFC 117 on Saturday night.
Unfortunately for Sonnen, he didn’t dominate through to the 25th minute. Down four rounds to none, Anderson Silva dug down deep and locked on a fight ending triangle choke to submit Chael Sonnen in the final round to retain his championship title.
Sonnen let the champion know early that he was in there to win, as the improbable happened within seconds of the fight starting when the future political hopeful tagged Silva with a big punch, rocking the Brazilian and putting him on his heels.
On the defensive from literally that moment on, Silva had no answer for Sonnen off his back, outside of eating elbows and punches that continuously landed on his chin. Sonnen clubbed the champion with shot after shot, keeping up an unrelenting pace.
The fourth round saw Silva come alive catching Sonnen with an elbow strike in close that rattled the Oregonian, putting him on wobbly legs. The “Spider” pounced looking for the kill like a black widow, but Sonnen recovered and ended up back in top position, reigning down shots from above once again.
With four rounds in the book and Sonnen clearly dominating all of them, it was all or nothing for Anderson Silva to win the fight.
Silva was listening.
As Sonnen wrapped up Silva yet again and took him to the ground, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt saw just the perfect opening to flip his legs up and trap his opponent in a triangle choke. Sonnen immediately moved to try and get out of the submission, but Silva just locked it up tighter and tighter.
“I knew that was I was losing the first 4 rounds,” Silva said. “Not to make any excuses, but about a week and a half ago I hurt my rib, the doctor asked me not to come in and fight, but for you guys and the UFC, I came in here and I put it all out on the line.”
Injury or not, Silva locked up the hold and Sonnen struggled mightily to get out, but was suffocating from the choke and had no choice but to tap the champion’s leg. Anderson Silva holds onto his UFC middleweight title, but not without the most punishment he’s ever taken since coming to the Octagon.
“Chael had a hell of a fight tonight,” Silva said about his opponent.
He had one of the most epic verbal attacks that has ever been unleashed in MMA history, and for most of the fight Chael Sonnen backed that all up. He still came up short and gave credit to Anderson Silva for an unbelievable win.
“Listen it was a tough fight, he’s a tough guy. I came in second, there’s nothing I can say. They gave me my opportunity and I came up short,” said Sonnen. “I’m only here to be No. 1, if I’m not the best I’m going to move on in life. We’ll go back and re-evaluate, but for now I got the silver medal.”
Silva has now shown that there are chinks in the armor, but he still came out victorious. UFC president Dana White has commented that there’s nothing cemented for the next contender, but Vitor Belfort could be waiting in the wings, or the promotion always has the option of an immediate rematch between Silva and Sonnen.
After UFC 117, Anderson Silva is still the champion, and Chael Sonnen is still the contender hoping to get back to the gold.