UFC 148: Anderson Silva TKOs Chael Sonnen
The eagerly anticipated fight between UFC middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva and uber trash-talker Chael Sonnen had its auspicious start with the Brazilian’s unequalled walk-in song, DMX’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When it’s On’. The crowd went wild and Sonnen, stewing inside the Octagon while Silva hugged his entire team and family around him, paced.
At the introductions and instructions, Sonnen stared icily but failed to come centre-Octagon when summoned by the referee, so Silva proceeded to bow in all four directions, as is his custom. But the ref brought Sonnen in, and there an amped Silva angled his body toward a coiled Sonnen.
Fans and pundits had wondered aloud if Sonnen had improved his submission and finishing game enough to win in a way other than five rounds of top control, and if Anderson Silva’s cracked rib in the first fight had actually hampered his movement and striking. All The Spider needs is fifteen or twenty seconds of fluidity in the stand-up to finish a fight. Considering their last tilt, fight fans wondered if even that was possible.
Sonnen landed his first takedown within six or seven seconds, and remained on top for the entire unbloody round, eventually mounting the champion in the dying seconds. Unlike the first fight, however, Sonnen was unable to land more than a couple of telling blows, and inflicted zero damage. When the bell rang, Silva jumped up and trotted to his corner, albeit the wrong one.
Silva’s corner encouraged the champ's defense and advised him to bring the knee up on the take down attempts. Takedowns can get more difficult to nail as the fight goes on. Fatigue sets in especially quickly against opponents who can master distance since it's so much harder to get there. This was the case in the second. Sonnen lacked zip, and Silva was able to avoid the take down shots.
Sonnen’s boxing is underrated, and despite his foe’s claims, he’s no donkey with the mitts. But his ill-timed spinning back fist against a world-class Muay Thai fighter was easier to see coming than the ending of an 80’s sitcom. Sonnen ended up on his ass against the fence looking a lot like a moose in the headlights.
At first the crowd thought Sonnen had been hit with an unseen knee or elbow, but it was just the American’s realization that after two fights and five and a half rounds on top of Silva, he was now on the bottom, and likely to remain there. Silva has brutal top control due to lightening fast, pinpoint accurate strikes. A knee to the chest and a barrage of strikes were all referee Yves Lavigne needed to call a stop to the fight.
“I was on the ground,” a split-nosed Sonnen said, “and he got me with a good knee. Other than that, I’ll have to look at the tape.”
His corner had probably needed to tell him that much.
Anderson Silva spent less than half a minute in top control and finished yet again. Sonnen’s record drops to 27-12 . Silva’s record now stands at 32-4. The champion and unanimous pound-for-pound king has now defended his title ten times.
In a true show of sportsmanship, Silva coerced Sonnen to the victory mic and invited the American to Brazil for a family barbeque, a fitting and biting reply to Sonnen’s pre-fight request that after he beat Silva, Silva’s wife “…cook me a steak medium rare, just like I like.”
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