Sat Oct 08 10:24pm EDT
HOUSTON - There seemed nothing Chael Sonnen could do to top the performance he posted Saturday night against Brian Stann.
Then he stepped to the microphone.
After finishing Stann via arm-triangle choke in less than nine minutes, Sonnen stood in front of 16,ooo-plus at the Toyota Center and challenged UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva to what they call in the world of pro wrestling a "loser leaves town" match.
"Anderson Silva ... you absolutely suck!" Sonnen said. The victorious fighter then stepped away from the microphone for a little dramatic pause as Silva watched from the front row.
"Super Bowl weekend ... the biggest rematch in the history of the business. I'm calling you out, Silva. I beat you, you leave the division, you beat me, I will leave the UFC forever," said Sonnen.
That was it. Short and simple, but epic. Sonnen walked right out the cage.
Sonnen is no stranger controversy. This was his first fight back after a bizarre saga involving the California State Athletic Commission and testing for performance enhancing drugs.
Before Sonnen took on Silva last August at UFC 117, he disclosed that he was taking testosterone because of a deficiency in his system. After several hearings during an appeal process, Sonnen wound up serving a lengthy suspension.
In many ways, it overshadowed what happened that night in Oakland, but Sonnen hasn't forgot. He dominated the nearly unbeatable Silva for 23-plus minutes before blowing it late and falling victim to a submission.
The storm has been brewing for more than a year and Sonnen has been talking major trash about the champion to anyone who would put a microphone in front of him. Sonnen went as far as calling the Stann fight "the first defense of his middleweight title."
There's was certainly a lot of pressure on Sonnen, but it didn't show. Stann is a dangerous striker, but his grappling has always been a weak point. Sonnen went right after his opponent's Achilles' heel and dumped him to the mat early the first. He kept him down for the rest of the round and mounted him several times.
In the second, it took just six seconds for Sonnen to get Stann to the mat. He grinded on Stann with elbows and punches. The crowd starting booing, and for some odd reason referee Keri Hatley put the fighters back on their feet with 2:22 left.
It didn't help Stann. Just 20 seconds later, Sonnen lifted him off the ground and slammed him back down. With 1:27 left, Sonnen slapped on the arm-triangle choke. Stann held out for a while, but had to tap, giving the victory to Sonnen at the 3:51 mark of the second.
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