I could not believe what I was seeing. For 4 and a half rounds Chael Sonnen was doing exactly what he said he was going to do. In the first round he even rocked Anderson Silva. Yes, I just said that Chael Sonnen rocked Anderson Silva, and he never stopped coming at him. Sonnen did exactly what no one before him could do. He dominated this fight in every way that he could. He outstruck Silva by an insane margin of 320 to 64. That is just unreal. He went deep into the 5th round and all he had to do was not get finished. All he had to do was make sure that he didn't get knocked out or submitted for the final couple of minutes.
So, of course, that's exactly what happened. Silva had tried many times throughout the fight to work towards an arm that Sonnen just continued to leave out there for him. Finally, Silva threw his leg over and locked in a triangle. After struggling to get out but being unable to, Sonnen tapped. He tried to contest almost immediately that he didn't but after watching the replay it was clear that he did and referee Josh Rosenthal called the fight. An absolutely amazing finish to an amazing fight.
In the post fight interview it came to light that Silva had a rib injury coming in. I remarked to many of the people watching the fight with me that Silva just did not look right. Much the way Penn looked against Edgar at UFC 112. A bit sluggish and just not himself. My brother was exactly right when after round 1, when Silva was in his corner, he made the comment that Silva was grimacing and clutching a bit at his ribs. Unlike Penn, Anderson battled through the injury and managed to do what a champion does; find a way to win the fight.
In the post fight presser, Dana White said that he is unsure of an immediate rematch. With the way this fight went I don't think anyone would mind if that's exactly what happened. I'm inclined to think that Vitor will get the next shot but if Sonnen can pick up a win then he will make his way right back to another shot at Silva. Next time, maybe he fights a little smarter. He had to know that he was way ahead on the scorecards. He had no reason to keep pressuring and leaving himself open to get submitted in that 5th round. He needs to learn from that and if he does he will be a serious threat if he gets another chance.
I was extremely impressed with Sonnen not throwing dirt on the fight by claiming he didn't tap. He's done so before and it was clear he tapped this time. He was a real man about it by saying that he came in second tonight and that Silva was a great fighter and he needs to reevaluate things. He wants to be the best but tonight he got the silver medal. Props to Sonnen for owning the loss. He certainly doesn't have a damn thing to be ashamed of tonight.
As far as Silva goes, it made total sense why he put in the performance he did when he said he hurt his ribs just a week ago. He didn't look like the Silva we are all used to. In the fourth round he actually threw a haymaker. I'm not sure I've ever seen him do that before. The deadly accuracy wasn't there. But when it came down to it, with just a couple minutes left and his title reign all but over, Silva dug deep and found a way to lock on the fight ending submission. In a fight that he was thoroughly dominated he managed to win. That's the true mark of a champion. We had never truly seen him in trouble before tonight. Like Sonnen said, we were all gonna find out and we sure as hell did. We found out that he can still find a way to beat you. Truly an amazing thing we got to see tonight.