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Silva shows champion's guts in pulling off miracle comeback

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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The talk was so non-stop and over the top, some starting believing even Chael Sonnen had to know his guarantees couldn't be executed. He spoke about bringing the fight to Anderson Silva, taking him Silva for 25 minutes and pounding a hole in his head. Ridiculous, right? Wrong, Sonnen did exactly what he said he would do but he only did it for 22. Leading 4-0, Sonnen relaxed for a few seconds in Silva's guard and got caught by a big right. That stopped Sonnen long enough to allow Silva to throw his legs up and lock on a triangle choke. Sonnen couldn't hold out, he tapped and Silva retained his UFC middleweight title with a miracle comeback at 3:10 of the fifth round in the main event at UFC 117 in Oakland.

Sonnen is always brutally honest and had no excuses just seconds after the fight.

"It was a tough fight. He's a tough guy," Sonnen told UFC analyst Joe Rogan. "I came in second. They gave me my chance and I came up short."

Update I: Anderson Silva got a Submission of the Night award ($60,000). He and Sonnen got the Fight of the Night bonus as well. ($60,000 each)

Update II: Compustrike claims Sonnen landed an MMA record 289 strikes during the fight. That included 218-11 to over the first three rounds and 51-2 in the first. FightMetric says the count was 320-64 overall in favor of Sonnen.

He can still be proud. He was leading the fight, 40-34, 40-36, and 40-35, on the scorecards. Coming in, Silva had won all 11 of his UFC fights, barely losing a few rounds. He was so dominant that opponents were afraid to engage with him, making for some ugly, boring fights.

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Sonnen wasn't intimidated at all. He blew threw Silva (27-4, 12-0 UFC) in the opening seconds of each round to score takedowns. On the ground, Silva was helpless. He couldn't improve his position and couldn't get off his back.

But Sonnen (24-11-1, 4-4 UFC) didn't close it out. That's why championship fights are five rounds. When asked if he wanted an immediate rematch, Sonnen was still stunned.

"I'm only here to be No.1. If I'm not the best I'm gonna move on in life," said Sonnen. "But for now I got the silver medal."

Silva almost seemed shocked from the start. No one ever comes right at the lethal striker. That's exactly what Sonnen did and he got off the first big shot of the fight. Sonnen landed a huge left that stunned Silva. The champ retreated, dropped his hands and was taking more shots on the feet. That's when Sonnen scored his first takedown with 3:22 left in the round.In the second, it hit the deck just 11 seconds in. The next round Silva was on the mat in 24 seconds. In the fourth, Silva scored a takedown but then looked like an amateur as Sonnen easily reversed him. On the ground, Sonnen pounded away with an array of elbows and punches to the body and head. Both fighters were bruised badly at the end of the fight.

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