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Maggie Hendricks

UFC 117's Three Stars: Silva, Sonnen and Struve

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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The first UFC pay-per-view event in more than a month had no shortage of impressive performances.

No. 1 star -- Anderson Silva: If you needed any reminder why MMA is an amazing sport, Silva gave it to you. A football team is unlikely to come back and win when down four touchdowns at the two-minute warning. Ditto a basketball team down 40 points, or a baseball team down 12 runs. But in MMA, the judges' score cards can be rendered moot with a single triangle choke.

Silva showed not only the greatness of MMA but the nature of a champion. He withstood a Chael Sonnen beating for 4 1/2 rounds but was still able to come back and win. Quite simply, he figured out a way to win. That's a quality found in the greatest champions, regardless of sport.

No. 2 star -- Chael Sonnen: Obviously, the man who delivered the beating for most of the main event deserves kudos, as well. Sonnen used wrestling and ground and pound to relentlessly pummel Silva. Sonnen made Silva look human, a feat that few other fighters have been able to accomplish.

No. 3 star -- Stefan Struve: On a jam-packed card, it was hard to pick out the final star, but Struve showed his mettle with a second-round KO of Christian Morecraft. Struve was battered and beaten from the first round. With a mangled lip and a bloody face, Struve came back to deliver two punishing strikes to take Morecraft out.

Honorable mention -- Wrestling: Yes, the world's oldest and greatest sport had a starring role at UFC 117. Matt Hughes used an old-school wrestling technique to beat Ricardo Almeida. Jon Fitch used wrestling to take down Thiago Alves again and again. Phil Davis, Clay Guida and even Sonnen used wrestling to get the job done -- almost done in the case of Sonnen.

Dishonorable mention -- Thiago Alves: First, he blew weight. Then, he was dominated by Jon Fitch in a unanimous-decision loss. Alves looked sluggish and tired, only managing a few fits of offense near the end of the second and third rounds.

Who are your stars from UFC 117?

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