Jeff Chiu / AP
Published Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010 | 4:04 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010 | 9:06 p.m.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Chael Sonnen came within two minutes of claiming the UFC middleweight title Saturday at the Oracle Arena.
But in the end, it was Anderson Silva who again took home the belt.
Sonnen dominated the defending champ through four rounds of their middleweight title bout but fell into a deep triangle choke with just two minutes to go in the fifth and final round.
Referee Josh Rosenthal called a stop to the fight at 2:10 of the round when Sonnen (26-11-1) issued a very slight, but what appeared to be genuine, submission.
“It was a tough fight and he’s a tough guy,” Sonnen said. “I came in second tonight. There’s nothing I can say. You gave me an opportunity and I came up short.”
Following the fight, Silva (27-4) thanked the crowd for showing up while also adding he had entered the octagon Saturday less than 100 percent.
According to Silva, a rib injury he sustained in the last week of training may have slowed him down.
“Not to make any excuses, but about a week and a half ago I hurt my ribs,” Silva said. “A doctor asked me not to fight but, for (the fans) and the UFC, I came out and put it all on the line.”
Silva improved to 12-0 in the UFC with the win.
Chael Sonnen (26-11-1) vs. Anderson Silva (27-4)
Round One: Silva comes out and touches Sonnen with a jab immediately. Sonnen throws a knee, Silva catches and lets it go. Sonnen goes hard for a double leg, Silva pushes him away. Crowd chanting ‘Silva.’ Silva catches a leg kick, Sonnen rolls away from him. Sonnen connects now on a hard left jab and silva stumbles back. Sonnen following after him and connects with a flurry. Sonnen coming forward and Silva hip tosses him to the ground. They stand and Sonnen hits him again with a straight left. Silva’s hands low, Sonnen rushes him and takes him down. Sonnen on top standing over him and looking to land shots. He traps Silva’s right arm under his knee and lands another shot. Silva trying to protect himself, he works into a seated position against the fence and the action finally slows with still half the round to go. Sonnen has Silva up against the fence and lands four or five hard short punches with the left hand. Silva rolls over to try and get to his feet but Sonnen is right on him dropping punches. Now Sonnen tands over Silva and lands a hard right hand directly down to his head. Silva shoved up against the fence unable to move. He tries to tie Sonnen up but Sonnen postures up again and bounces his head up and down off the canvas. Referee Josh Rosenthal right on top of the action ready to stop. Silva makes it to the end of the round.
Round Two: Silva comes out looking very aggressive. He looks to throw a knee but Sonnen catches it and puts him on his back. Silva scrambling on the ground here, throwing elbows from the bottom and trying to get Sonnen away from him. Sonnen flattens down on top of him and Silva locks his arms around him to tie him up. Sonnen only has his hands free as their in a close hug and he basically claps his hands together on the sides of Silva’s head. Sonnen finally frees himself up and works more ground and pound from the top. Big left hand drops down from Sonnen. Silva looks to get his legs up on Sonnen’s shoulders but can’t keep them there. Silva rolls into a kimura attempt with twenty seconds left but Sonnen gets his leg in the way to break it.
Round Three: Sonnen runs out to meet Silva and Silva greets him with an overhand left that stumbles him for a moment. Sonnen comes forward strong with a left hand and then looks for a takedown. He didn’t drive into Silva clean but Silva is worn down and Sonnen is able to wrestle him to the ground. Silva on his knees, bent over with Sonnen holding on to his back. He drives a couple hard knees into Silva’s legs. Silva tries to roll forward and get Sonnen off but that won’t work either, as Sonnen falls right back into his guard. Sonnen using his forearm to drop a series of blows into Silva’s face. Two minutes left. Silva gets his arms behind Sonnen’s head and holds him in close but can’t find a way to get off his back. Sonnen just mauling Silva from the top. He’s staying active, pushing his hands, arms, elbows, everything into Silva’s face.
Round Four: Body kick lands for Silva and then a straight punch that wobbles Sonnen. Sonnen tries to tie him up but Silva gets him off. Silva really going after him now and Sonnen is in trouble. Sonnen goes for a takedown but it doesn’t have much behind it and Silva pushes his back to the mat for the first time tonight. Sonnen sits up, wraps his arms around Silva’s waist and basically suplexes him from a seated position. Silva on his back again with four minutes left in the round. Silva trying to create space with his legs but Sonnen gets wide and just refuses to give up top position. More right hands come down for Sonnen. Sonnen remains on top the rest of the way and we’ll go to the final round.
Round Five: Sonnen goes for an early takedown. Silva sprawls and refuses to follow him to the ground. Sonnen keeps going after him though and gets him to the ground. Silva creates a little space to get up but Sonnen just swings around the legs and gets himself right back on top. Silva sneaks his leg up and gets a triangle choke in. The grip is tight. Sonnen falls back onto his back and tries to punch his way out of his it. It looks tight and Sonnen taps. After the tap, Sonnen continues to fight. Referee Josh Rosenthall is on top of it, he’s stopped the fight and people are coming into the cage but the two fighters are still locked in together almost unsure of whether to continue or not. Silva wins via submission at 2:10 of final round.
Jon Fitch (26-3) vs. Thiago Alves (22-6)
Round One: Fitch feints a hook and ducks under with a few quick punches that land. Alves winds up for a straight right that grazes off Fitch’s defense. Fitch goes for the first takedown of the fight. He gets low on Alves’s waist and slams him to the ground. Alves able to work back to his feet with Fitch latched on to his back. Fitch sticks on him and wrestles him to the ground again. Alves reverses the position though and now it’s him on top. He looks to posture up and land a few shots but Fitch gets out of the way. Alves goes to work in Fitch’s guard before standing up and letting him back to his feet. Fitch lands a good knee out of the Muay Thai clinch. Nice straight right lands for Alves. He tries to follow up but Fitch ducks under another straight punch and counters. Fitch goes in hard for a single leg but Alves throws him off. Thirty seconds left and they tie into a clinch against the fence. Final ten seconds and Fitch wrestles him down.
Round Two: Fitch comes out with a smile to start the second round. Alves touches him with the jab. Alves looks for an uppercut and Fitch shoots in. Alves gets a guillotine on him but Fitch able to break free. Alves kicks him off and works to get back to his feet. Fitch wants him back on the ground and stays up close, pushing him into a seated position against the fence. Again Alves kicks him off, again Fitch scrambles and ends up back on top. Alves inches towards the cage and works to his feet but only for a second before Fitch returns him to his back. Two minutes left. Crowd begins to boo as Fitch stays latched on to Alves but unable to create much damage. Alves now frees himself and it’s back to the feet with thirty seconds left. Alves throws off a superman punch then a right uppercut that both miss.
Round Three: Good leg kick lands for Fitch early. Alves tries that superman punch again but unable to land it clean. Good jab by Alves as he closes the distance but he’s wary of the takedown now. Fitch goes hard for a single leg but Alves stays on his feet. Fitch goes straight for a double leg now but that’s defended as well. Fitch takes a look at the clock. Still 3:30 to go. Fitch closes the distance and again latches on to Alves’s waist form the back. He wrestles him down and puts Alves in a body triangle. Two minutes to go and Fitch has his back and is looking for the choke. Alves leaves his left arm up and now Fitch looks for the arm triangle. The crowd is cheering him on but it looks like Alves won’t need to tap from this. Alves uses a burst and reverses the position to get on top. Fitch has such a tight grip on him though he can’t create any space to get a shot in. Ten seconds left and Alves gets to his feet but with no time to do anything. Fitch wins via unanimous decision.
Clay Guida (27-8) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (14-5)
Round One: Crowd chanting Guida’s name as fight begins. Guida comes forward with two punches but can’t catch up to Dos Anjos. Guida lands a nice head kick there and Dos Anjos raises his hand to show it didn’t hurt. Guida’s puts his back to the fence and Dos Anjos tries to come forward but Guida catches him with a flurry. Dos Anjos closes the distance again and locks into a clinch. Guida gets low and looks for the takedown but Dos Anjos gets his legs apart and stays on his feet. With two minutes left in the round they finally break. Dos Anjos now lands a hard straight punch as Guida was looking for a leg kick. Dos Anjos shoots in hard but Guida defends it easily. Head kick lands for Dos Anjos and now a hard leg kick. Dos Anjos lands a good uppercut and shoots in and puts Guida on his butt against the fence. Guida gets back to his feet as the round ends.
Round Two: Nice feint sets up a good right hook for Guida. Guida looks for an overhand right and Dos Anjos sees it and counters well. Both guys keeping busy but neither able to land a big shot here. Guida again looks to set up that big overhand right but its too slow and Dos Anjos gets out of the way. Good head movement by Guida though is making it tough for Dos Anjos to land anything. Guida gets in a good combination there and he works it into a takedown. Dos Anjos on his back and he puts Guida into full guard. Dos Anjos lands a few good elbows from the bottom position as time runs out on the round.
Round Three: Guida coming forward aggressively as Dos Anjos retreats. Body kick lands for Dos Anjos and Guida shoots in. They end up in the clinch and Guida gets the takedown with a big slam. Dos Anjos on his back with Guida on top and all of a sudden he taps. Looks like Dos Anjos was trying to fight through a broken jaw but couldn’t do it anymore. Guida wins via TKO at 1:51 of third round.
Matt Hughes (46-7) vs. Ricardo Almeida (12-4)
Round One: Both fighters trying to find their distance early as several jabs come up empty. Almeida throws a head kick, Hughes blocks it off. Hughes tries to come forward with a jab but Almeida keeps him at bay. Now Almeida catches a leg kick and catches Hughes with a counter left hook. Hughes tries to close the distance and get into the clinch but Almeida forcefully throws him off. Hughes lands a big left hook out of nowhere that drops Almeida. Hughes chases after him and puts in an arm choke. Almeida trying to get out of it but he’s out and the referee pulls Hughes off. Hughes wins via submission at 3:15 of first round.
Roy Nelson (16-5) vs. Junior Dos Santos (12-1)
Round One: Dos Santos sends out a strong left hook that Nelson blocks away. Nelson keeping both hands up high. Nelson shoots in hard for a takedown, Dos Santos scrambles away from him but Nelson follows and clinches him against the fence. Dos Santos trying to break away from him but Nelson won’t let go. They walk from one side of the cage to the other. Dos Santos creates some space, throws a hard knee and breaks away. Dos Santos lands a straight right that wobbles Nelson and Nelson backs up to the fence. Dos Santos teeing off now. Nelson standing but can only cover up. Dos Santos backs away finally but now lands a hard right uppercut that drops Nelson again. Nelson gets up but he’s in trouble. Dos Santos on him again and Nelson throws a desperate overhand right that clips Dos Santos and slows him down for now. Jab lands for Dos Santos, then an uppercut. Nelson fires off another overhand right that Dos Santos blocks and the round ends.
Round Two: Dos Santos looks to land a big knee in the opening moments of the round. Nelson lands a right hook and looks to take him down but Dos Santos stays on his feet. Another straight right lands for Nelson. Wile overhand right attempted by Nelson misses badly. Fighters trade shots as they both throw left hooks. Nelson goes hard for a takedown and nearly gets it but Dos Santos uses the cage to stay upright. They break and Dos Santos actually shoots in for a takedown that Nelson defends easily. Mouse has formed under the right eye of Dos Santos. Nelson takes a look at the clock, he looks winded. Dos Santos lands a hard left hook. Nelson tries a late takedown with ten seconds left but can’t get Dos Santos down. Nelson looks exhausted as the horn sounds.
Round Three: Nelson loads up another big overhand right that connects but Dos Santos comes back aggressively. Nelson’s back against the fence as Dos Santos jabs at him. More good combinations from Dos Santos and now he surprises Nelson with a takedown. Dos Santos gets back on his feet and Nelson is slow getting up. Right uppercut lands then a left hook for Dos Santos. Nelson fits a left jab in and then just misses on his big overhand right. Hard knee lands to the midsection for Dos Santos, Nelson answers with a good leg kick. Dos Santos continues working in jabs and uppercuts though, Nelson taking a lot of damage. Nelson’s gas tank completely empty. He’s hanging in there and throwing shots but he’s nearly falling over with each one. Thirty seconds left. Both fighters let their hands go as the fight ends. Dos Santos wins via unanimous decision.
Rick Story (11-3) vs. Dustin Hazelett (14-6)
Round One: Story comes forward right away and Hazelett jumps into him and basically is in a standing guard. Story power slams him down and starts looking to land big shots from above. Hazelett is dangerous from the bottom though and locks in an armbar attempt. Story lifts him and slams him again and now sits on top of him and starts landing punches. Now he gets off and signals Hazelett to his feet. Story coming forward aggressively again, letting his hands go to Hazelett’s midsection. He takes him down, lands a few more shots and then backs away and lets Hazelett up again. Back on the feet, Story again landing flurries. Hazelett tries to put him in a Muay Thai clinch but Story is just punching right through it. Same thing happens twice more before round comes to an end.
Round Two: Story comes out with more left and right hooks and Hazelett drops to his back. He is hurt but it looked like he did it hoping Story would follow him there. Story does and works ground and pound for a moment before getting back up. Hazelett reluctantly stands and Story drops him again and starts banging away. There’s no hope now for Hazelett and referee steps in and makes the stop. Story wins via TKO at 1:15 of second round.
Rodney Wallace (9-3) vs. Phil Davis (7-0)
Round One: Wallace looks for a counter uppercut but Davis avoids. Davis looks to land a knee, Wallace catches it and tries to take him down. Davis keeps his balance and now works it into a takedown of his own. Davis goes to work in top position with Wallace pushed up against the fence. Davis lands some good elbows from the top. Davis manhandling Wallace from the top now as he transitions into full mount. Wallace able to shake him off and get back to his feet but Davis stays latches on to him and brings him to the floor again. Davis back to full mount. Wallace survives the round but was pretty much dominated from start to finish.
Round Two: Wallace catches a body kick but Davis is so quick and strong. He rips his leg free and ends up shooting in and putting Wallace on his back again. Davis immediately to full mount. Wallace able to get him off and get back to his feet but Davis ties him up and delivers a big knee to his midsection. Now Davis moves into side control and looks for a kimura before going back to mount and pounding on Wallace until the end of the round.
Round Three: Davis lands a head kick to open the round. Now a body kick and straight right combination. Davis goes for a knee, Wallace catches it, Davis continues forward and they end up in the clinch. Davis wrestles Wallace to his back with half the round remaining. Davis remains on top the rest of the way but can’t get the finish. Davis wins via unanimous decision.
Johny Hendricks (9-0) vs. Charlie Brenneman (12-2)
Round One: Hendricks gets in a left uppercut from Brenneman answers with a hard right hook right off the bat. They tie up in the clinch before Hendricks puts him in a headlock and lands a good knee. They break and both let their hands go. Brenneman lands a few shots on a flurry and then shoots in for a takedown. He works Hendricks to the cage and drags him down to a sitting position. Brenneman on his feet but his head is buried into Hendricks’s torso and he’s unable to do anything from this position. Referee stands it up with a minute to go. They get into clinch again and Brenneman scores a late takedown to finish the round.
Round Two: Hendricks staggers Brenneman early with a hard right hook. He falls down and tries to clinch up on him but Hendricks starts swinging away. Brenneman gets to his knees and tries to punch back but Hendricks catches him and drops him again. Brenneman clearly hurt and the referee steps in. Hendricks wins via TKO at 0:40 of second round.
Todd Brown (15-2) vs. Tim Boetsch (9-3)
Round One: Leg kick lands for Boetsch to get things started. Boetsch looks for a single leg, Brown backs up and it goes to a clinch against the fence. Boetsch now uses a trip to put Brown on his butt against the cage. Brown works back up. Good left uppercut lands for Boetsch. Brown staggers but regains his composure and it ends up back in a clinch.
Round Two: Good jab work from Brown to start and then right back to the clinch with Boetsch’s back to the fence. They finally break and Brown gets in a nice body kick. More jabs from Brown land clean. Brown looks for an overhand right that nearly connects. Both guys showing fatigue here with 2:15 left to go in the round. Brown lands a head kick before loading up for another huge overhand right that misses. Nice left hook lands for Boetsch. Brown slips on a high head kick attempt, Boetsch looks to land a knee but misses.
Round Three: Brown switches stances here to start the third round. Only briefly though, as he goes back to orthodox now and then moves into the clinch. Boetsch now gets low and drives through for clearly the best takedown attempt of the fight. Brown on his butt up against the fence and Boetsch looks for a guillotine. That won’t work, but Boetsch stays in a good position and tries to work his ground and pound. Brown uses the cage to get back to his feet and break away with two minutes to go. Boetsch lands a good right uppercut. Forty seconds left and Boetsch drives in for another successful takedown. Boetsch wins via unanimous decision.
Stefan Struve (24-4) vs. Christian Morecraft (6-1)
Round One: Morecraft coming forward early with punches. Struve uses good head movement to avoid but Morecraft gets him in the clinch and takes him down with a nice slam. Morecraft lands some good elbows and now standing over Struve lands a few hard shots with both hands. Struve gets his legs up though and looks for a triangle. Morecraft manages to flip his legs off but gets caught immediately in a guillotine. Morecraft breaks the guillotine though and goes back to work landing big shots out of Struve’s guard. Struve’s head banging back against the canvas hard but he’s still conscious. More big shots rain down from Morecraft, he’s really beating Struve up. Two consecutive hard right hands land for Morecraft but Struve clinches himself up to him to stay alive. Morecraft just standing over delivering blow after blow. Stuve looks for an armbar, but Morecraft breaks it and now gets into full mount with a minute left. Struve tries to get into a leg lock but that won’t hold either. Morecraft now looks for a guillotine of his own but can’t lock it in.
Round Two: Struve comes out swinging to start the round. Morecraft fires back but Struve lands a hard right hook that drops him. Morecraft tries to clinch up but Struve is all over him dropping shots. What a finish. Struve wins via TKO at 0:22 of second round.
Ben Saunders (8-3-2) vs. Dennis Hallman (65-13-2)
Round One: Hallman comes in looking to clinch immediately and Saunders backs up to the cage. Hallman really looking to get it to the ground here and now does wrestle Saunders to his back with 3:45 left in the round. Hallman in half-guard, passes to side control and almost to full mount but Saunders gets him back in half-guard. Decent elbows land for Hallman. Good left hand lands for Hallman. Saunders avoiding major damage here but Hallman is staying active and still dominating the fight.
Round Two: Saunders smiled at Hallman before the round started and he comes out and lands a nice right uppercut. Good body kick for Saunders and then another. Straight left lands for Saunders but Hallman ducks under a second punch and takes him down. Hallman’s got Saunders shoved up against the cage but no landing many shots. Saunders looks for an armbar but Hallman lifts him up and breaks the hold. Hallman falls into side control. Saunders just can’t get off his back, blood starting to come from a cut near his left eye.
Round Three: Saunders trying to string some punches together here, he lands a left jab then a right hook. He’s dominating the fight on his feet but needs to avoid a takedown. Another left comes in hard for Saunders and Hallman is dazed. He goes for a single leg and Saunders is just able to avoid going to his back. Hallman still got the single leg though and not letting go. He trips Saunders for a second but Saunders back to a crouching position against the fence. Saunders back to his feet but still in the clinch. Referee steps in and breaks them apart with three minutes to go. Hallman looks for a shot but Saunders defends. Good knee lands for Saunders and Hallman retreats. Still plenty of time for Saunders at two minutes. Hallman works in close and now suplexes Saunders to the ground. He finishes the fight on top. Hallman wins via unanimous decision.