BOSTON -- Chael Sonnen might not have the greatest record in UFC title fights, but against the rest of the pack he's money.
The West Linn, Ore., native is 0-3 in title shots, but he has won his past six non-title fights and none bigger than Saturday's victory over former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at TD Garden.
Sonnen (27-13-1) finished the bout via guillotine choke with 13 seconds left in the first round to cap a card that was the centerpiece for the launch day of the new FOX Sports 1 network.
"I'm the man of the hour, too sweet to be sour," said Sonnen, echoing former wrestling star "Superstar" Billy Graham in his post-fight interview.
Sonnen, a former Olympic alternate wrestler, used his wrestling advantage from the outset, taking Rua down and keeping him there.
When Rua finally got to his feet late in the round, it figured to be to his advantage because he's known as a striker. But Sonnen got the guillotine from the standing position and took it to the ground to finish things off.
Rua (21-8) has dropped two straight fights and three of his past four.
The co-main event featured the night's highlight-reel moment as heavyweight Travis Browne knocked Alistair Overeem cold with a devastating kick that landed flush on the jaw.
Overeem, a former Strikeforce champion, came out on fire in the opening round as he blitzed Browne, a Hawaii native, with a vicious series of strikes. Browne covered up and weathered the storm, then got back to his feet when Overeem's pace slowed.
Overeem, a native of Holland, came at Browne with his hands down in the final minute of the round, which is when Browne struck. Browne followed the kick with a series of right hands, leading the referee to call off the fight at 4:08.
"The thing about it, he throws knees like I never felt before," Browne said. "He gave me trouble with body shots. I was there mentally, but my head was shutting down. All I did was move and move and move. As soon as I saw him slow down I made my move."
Browne (15-1-1) has won two straight knockouts since his only career loss, to Antonio Silva, in October. Overeem (36-13, 1 no-contest), who was suspended for performance-enhancing substances in 2012, has been knocked out twice since his return.
Popular Urijah Faber got off to a slow start in his bantamweight bout against Brazil's Iuri Alcantara. The upstart Alcantara began with a judo throw and worked for several submissions.
But Faber (29-6) picked up Alcantara (28-5, 1 no-contest), landed a slam and dominated the bout from there. The Sacramento, Calif., native used his wrestling, grappling and ground-striking to post a unanimous decision. Judges' scores were 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.
"I think he might have dislocated my jaw in the first exchange, so I felt a sense of urgency," said Faber, who is 3-0 in 2013. "A guy like that is a true warrior, so I decided to use my skill level and conditioning and I got him."
Cincinnati's Matt Brown made a statement with his sixth consecutive win in the welterweight division. Brown made quick work of veteran Mike Pyle, using a vicious knee followed by a series of right hands to score a knockout victory in just 29 seconds.
Brown (18-11) has five of the six wins in his current streak via finish. He's due for a step up in competition, and he went straight for the top, calling out champion Georges St-Pierre.
"I'll tell you what, Mike's a real tough, veteran fighter," Brown said. "Better than GSP. That's six in a row."
Pyle had a four-fight winning streak snapped.
While the Red Sox and Yankees were playing across town, a Boston fighter took a fight from a New Yorker as Dorchester's John Howard defeated Uriah Hall. Hall rode a ton of hype coming out of an appearance on the UFC's "Ultimate Fighter" show but looked lackluster in losing his second straight fight.
Hall (7-4) won the first round, but in the final two, Howard (21-8) used his straight left hand to initiate the clinch and work for takedowns. Hall, a talented striker, simply had no Plan B.
Judges' scores were 30-27, 28-29 and 29-28 for Howard, who has won seven of his past eight fights.
The main card opener was a downer for the Boston faithful, who were fired up to see hometown lightweight Joe Lauzon. But the veteran from East Bridgewater, Mass., was shut down for three rounds by Michael Johnson. Judges' scores were 30-27, 30-27 and an inexplicable 30-25.
Johnson (13-8) had three knockdowns in the first round. The last one came late in the round, and Lauzon (22-9) might have been saved by the bell.
The second round was Lauzon's best, but the St. Louis native had an nswer every time Lauzon tried to initiate the action. Johnson picked Lauzon apart in round three and punctuated his performance with a late takedown.