The first round went according to plan for challenger Chael Sonnen. Much like in their first fight, Sonnen had little trouble taking the champion down early in the fight. Sonnen would be able to keep top position for the rest of the round. Working mostly from Anderson Silva’s half-guard, Sonnen mostly landed small shots before eventually making his way to the full mount late in the round. Although Sonnen was doing excellent work, the champion remained patient and exited the first round without being too much worse for the ware.
Much like his big victories over Dan Henderson and Yushin Okami, Silva came back in to the second round and was ready to take over. The champion did grab the shorts of his opponent in the clinch but it was not significant enough to warrant a penalty or a break in the action from referee Yves Lavign. After Silva starting to land a couple shots, Sonnen appeared desperate to reassert himself and his game plan. Sonnen came in strong with a lunging punch tailed by a big spinning back fist. The back fist missed its mark and Sonnen spun around and stumbled to the ground under the weight of his own momentum, pressure, and fatigue. From there, Anderson would not let Chael off the hook.
Silva lunged in with a devastating knee to his grounded opponent. It was a strike that initially looked like it might have been illegal, but replays showed a clear legal strike to the chest. Sonnen tried to recover, and regained his footing momentarily, but Silva’s onslaught was simply too much. Silva kept punching away and Sonnen started curling into the fetal position, prompting Yves Lavigne to step in and call an end to the fight.
In a career full of tremendous championship victories, this one has to stand out as being especially sweet for Silva. For starters, Sonnen is easily considered Silva’s biggest rival. Not only is he good enough to be ranked #2 at that weight division, Sonnen happens to also be probably the worst stylistic match-up for Silva. So Silva was able to come out on top again against his biggest rival and he did so in what many UFC officials are regarding as the biggest event in company history.
At the post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White reitterated his conviction that Silva has established himself as the best mixed martial artist in the history of the sport. The best of all time. Fans will always be happy to share a dissenting opinion, but from the opinion of journalists, or any other with a pretense of objectivism, it is a claim that has now become near impossible to dispute.
Anderson Silva destroys world-class competition in the biggest fighting events in the world. He is a spectacular and rare talent who not only dazzles in his performances but has been able to further his greatness by extending his UFC records of total and consecutive title defenses (10) and consecutive UFC victories (15).