Chael Sonnen did everything he promised he’d do at UFC 117 except leave Oakland, CA with the middleweight title. The chatty challenger dominated Anderson Silva for 23 minutes and 10 seconds, however found himself on the wrong end of a Hail Mary triangle armbar submission that abruptly ended his evening.
Silva’s eighth title defense was nothing anyone had ever witnessed before. The planet’s baddest 185-pounder had steamrolled his last 12 opponents, but spent the majority of his highly anticipated showdown staring up at the Oracle Arena ceiling while eating a barrage of strikes.
Round after punishing round, Sonnen would survive a brief exchange in the opening ticks then immediately secure a takedown. Everything was going according to plan until the 5thRound came calling. It was desperation time for arguably the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighter and he realized he needed to go for broke.
“I knew I was losing the first 4Rounds,” the champion admitted. “Not to make any excuses, but a week-and-a-half ago I hurt my ribs. The doctor told me not to fight, but for [the fans] and the UFC, I came out here and fought.”
Although Sonnen looked like the 4-to-1 odds-on favorite for the majority of their contest, it was the Brazilian that ultimately found his hand raised at the end to escape Oaktown with his crown.
“I have no excuses, Chael had a hell of a fight tonight,” Silva stated.
Unfortunately, not quite hell enough…