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UFC 117: Silva Snatches Victory from Sonnen

Anderson Silva used submission, not striking, to defend his title at UFC 117 Anderson Silva used submission, not striking, to defend his title at UFC 117

Anderson Silva extended his winning streak to 13 straight victories at UFC 117 on Saturday night, but just barely. After being controlled for four rounds and most of the fifth by Chael Sonnen, the world middleweight champion pulled off a submission win via triangle choke to snatch a win out of the fire and retain his title.

There was an incredible amount of hype leading up to the championship match on Saturday, and the contest lived up to it for the most part. Sonnen used his superior wrestling to keep the fight on the ground for much of the battle. Sonnen also, unbelievably, managed to get the better of the champ for at least half of the time they were on their feet as well, rocking Silva with big left hands.

However, Silva showed why he has earned three different black belts by putting Sonnen on queer street mid-fight and pushing the pace. To Sonnen’s credit, he hung in there and survived some wobbly legs to score a takedown and reclaim dominance.

But that dominance did not ultimately prevail.

With two minutes left in the 25-minute fight, Anderson Silva was pinned on his back, absorbing shots from the challenger. All of a sudden, the champ through his left leg up over Sonnen’s shoulder and locked in a triangle choke.

Sonnen defended the choke and looked like he would survive to win the belt. And then he tapped.

When the ref stopped the fight, Sonnen protested at first, but in the end, he admitted that he had given up, perhaps prematurely.

The war of words ended up in an astonishing athletic display in the cage. The champion walked away with the gold, but after a performance like the one Silva and Sonnen put on, which earned them the Fight of the Night bonus, a rematch can’t be far behind.

In the co-main event of the evening, another wrestler put on a clinic. But in this case, Jon Fitch managed to see the job through and earn a unanimous decision over Thiago Alves. The victory secures a welterweight title shot for Fitch.

Junior Dos Santos faced his toughest test to date when he went the limit with Roy Nelson. The two heavyweights duked it out to the tune of a unanimous decision for Dos Santo, who keeps his impressive winning streak alive, and makes himself next in line to take a crack at the heavyweight title.

Also on the night, Matt Hughes made short work of Ricardo Almeida, putting the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt to sleep with a modified version of the anaconda choke.

Clay Guida also earned a victory, soliciting a submission from Rafael Dos Anjos, who suffered a broken jaw in the first round, but hung on until the third round before tapping out.

UFC 117 was one of the most stacked MMA cards of the year and delivered a ton of exciting fights. It’s rare that such a talked about event can live up to its billing, but Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Jon Fitch, and Matt Hughes all delivered the goods.

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Last modified on Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:20

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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