Chael Sonnen dominated Anderson Silva on Saturday in the main event of UFC 117 and was just minutes from dethroning the middleweight champion in what would have been one of the biggest upsets in the promotion’s history.
Instead, it was Silva making history with a miraculous comeback, as he forced Sonnen to tap to a triangle choke in the fifth and final round to retain the 185-pound title at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Sonnen rocked Silva during the opening rounds and took him down with ease before pummeling him with ground and pound, but Silva managed to survive and bloodied the challenger with elbows from the bottom in the fourth.
Knowing he’d need a finish to retain he title he’s held since 2006, Silva survived another flurry from Sonnen early in the fifth before locking on the triangle choke to complete a stunning comeback.
“Chael had a hell of a fight tonight. I knew that I was losing the first four rounds,” said Silva, now 12-0 in the UFC. “Not to make any excuses, but a week and a half ago I hurt my ribs. The doctor asked me not to fight, but for you guys and the UFC, I came out here and put it all on the line.”
“It was a tough fight,” Sonnen said following the loss. “He’s a tough guy. I came in second. There’s nothing I can say. They gave me an opportunity and I came up short.”
In the UFC 117 co-main event, Jon Fitch earned another shot at the welterweight title by wrestling his way to a unanimous decision over Thiago Alves.
Also on the UFC 117 main card, Junior dos Santos earned a shot at the heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Roy Nelson, welterweight hall of famer Matt Hughes choked out BJJ black belt Ricardo Almeida, and Clay Guida stopped Rafael dos Anjos with a broken jaw.
The official UFC 117 results were:
- Champ Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen via submission (triangle choke) – Round 5, 3:32
UFC Middleweight Championship
- Jon Fitch def. Thiago Alves via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Clay Guida def. Rafael dos Santos via submission (jaw injury) – Round 3, 1:41
- Matt Hughes def. Ricardo Almeida via technical submission (front headlock) – Round 1, 3:15
- Junior dos Santos def. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rick Story def. Dustin Hazelett via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:15
- Phil Davis def. Rodney Wallace via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Johny Hendricks def. Charlie Brenneman via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:40
- Tim Boetsch def. Todd Brown via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Stefan Struve def. Christian Morecraft via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:22
- Dennis Hallman def. Ben Saunders via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)