UFC 117: "Silva vs. Sonnen" took place tonight (Aug. 7, 2010) from the the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
From a pure promotional stand point, it was perhaps the most anticipated pay-per-view (PPV) event of the 2010 fight season behind the behemoth box office draw that is Brock Lesnar (UFC 116).
And that was due in large part to the epic, and often disparaging, trash talk of number one middleweight contender Chael Sonnen. He declared that tonight was the retirement party for star-crossed champion Anderson Silva, who had never lost a fight inside the Octagon.
He still hasn't.
Sonnen talked the talk, and tonight, he walked the walk ... for more than 20 minutes.
But it was a momentary lapse in judgment in the fifth and final round that was his incredible undoing. Silva got literally manhandled like never before, and he was likely down four rounds to zero heading into the fifth.
Not only did Sonnen outwrestle the seemingly invincible Silva, but he also outstruck him the few minutes while they were on their feet, dropping him on at least two occasions. You could see that Silva was pressing the action, trying to get something going, but Sonnen was just too much for him to handle.
"The Spider" wrapped Sonnen up in a triangle choke from the bottom, which Sonnen desperately tried to escape. He almost did, but he tapped in the end. In a flashback to his first fight with Paulo Filho, Sonnen initially protested, saying he didn't give in.
Replays proved otherwise. And despite all of his mind-boggling seemingly schizophrenic behavior before the fight, he admitted in the end, likely reluctantly, that he did in fact earn the silver medal this evening.
Smart move. And it will likely get him a rematch very soon if not immediately.
That was one helluva a comeback for Silva -- likely one of the best ever for perhaps one of the best mixed martial artists this world has ever seen.
Talk about a legacy builder.
All good things come to those who wait, right? That depends on how you describe "good."
In the co-featured fight of the night, former number one contenders Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves hooked 'em up in a rematch from 2006 that would determine the next title challenger.
Yes, despite injuries, medical problems and weight issues, it finally did happened again. But it wasn't pretty.
Fitch did what he had to do, taking down the Brazilian at will and, in the process, eliminating his biggest strength, which is his devastating stand up skills. He worked for several submissions, but Alves is just too talented to finish unless he's hurt.
And Fitch never really hurt the "Pitbull" ... certainly not like he did in their first encounter.
Nonetheless, Fitch earned a dominating decision. Perhaps it was Alves' 13-month layoff or weight issues. Or, quite possibly, Fitch really is the second best 170-pound fighter in the world.
Regardless, he'll need to do more if and when he takes on current division champion Georges St. Pierre again, or, gasp, is put on the spot and has to decide whether or not to pass on the opportunity of a lifetime and fight teammate Josh Koscheck instead.
That, alone, is an interesting situation.
Lightweight locomotive, Clay Guida, was in typical form, bouncing, ducking, burping (seriously) and pressing super promising prospect Rafael dos Anjos throughout most of their almost 15-minute bout.
It didn't matter that he was getting beat to the punch early, or getting blasted with kicks, he still kept coming forward. It ultimately paid winning dividends.
"The Carpenter" delivered another workmanlike performance, pouring it on with punches in bunches, as well as smothering wrestling, which cumulatively made the Brazilian tapout midway through the final round.
It wasn't a slick submission or brutal ground and pound, but rather a broken dos Anjos jaw that was the decision maker. Guida just kept coming, and in the end, dos Anjos just couldn't withstand the pain and keep going.
He broke his will.
UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes was out to prove that he still has what it takes to do some damage in the welterweight division, taking on decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist Ricardo Almeida.
He did just that tonight ... with an exclamation point.
Hughes clipped "Big Dog" with a short left in the first round, which sent the New Jersey resident to the canvas a little fuzzy. Hughes carefully waded in, grabbed his open neck from a north-south position and rocked the baby to sleep.
Almeida, one would assume based on his background, would be able to defend the "old wrestling" hold, but not even close. He went from weathering the storm to out cold in about 20 seconds.
Chalk another one up for the newest, and perhaps least reluctant, Gracie killer.
Impressive, highly unlikely, and totally awesome finish.
The promotion didn't mess around to kick off the broadcast, sending Junior dos Santos and Roy Nelson to the center of the cage to determine the number one division contender.
"Cigano" lit up "Big Country" early and often, hurting Nelson twice in the first round. His upper cut was just a deadly weapon that Nelson could not escape -- he found pay dirt virtually every time he threw it.
To his credit, Nelson survived and battled back, but he just didn't have the conditioning -- or perhaps similar skills -- to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Nonetheless, he was clearly looking for a one-punch knockout all fight.
Now dos Santos gets to relax and wait to see who wins the upcoming bout between UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and undefeated number one contender Cain Velasquez later this year.
It doesn't get much better than that for us fans.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss "Silva vs. Sonnen" in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs.
For complete UFC 117 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.