Octagonside by Anthony Springer Jr.
Anderson Silva promised to finish Chael Sonnen in the first round of their rematch.
It took him 6 minutes longer than expected, but “The Spider” got the job done. In another highlight reel performance, Silva defeated Sonnen at 1:55 in the second round to retain the UFC middleweight title.
The opening frame started out much like their original encounter. Sonnen scored a quick takedown and spent the majority of the round laying on the champion. Though Sonnen scored a full mount late in the round, he was unable to land any significant and damaging strikes.
The rest of the bout was all Silva. An early Sonnen takedown attempt was stuffed and from there, Silva found his rhythm. He rocked Sonnen with a few stiff shots. In a desperate attempt at offense, Sonnen attempted a spinning back fist and stumbled into the cage and onto the mat. On the canvas, Silva delivered a wicked knee to the body. With a hapless Sonnen, Silva pounded away forcing a stop.
The win is Silva’s sixteenth in the Octagon and his tenth successful title defense.
The only question remaining: Who’s next?
It was supposed to be a triumphant finish for Tito Ortiz. After more than a decade of service to the sport of MMA, “The People’s Champ” was going out on his terms against an opponent that he picked. But in a rather shocking turn of events, Griffin pulled off a unanimous decision victory in a back and forth battle.
Ortiz came out aggressive in the first round knocking the original Ultimate Fighter to the canvas with a right hand. The longest reigning light heavyweight champion in UFC history continued his offensive from there. During a tie up, Ortiz landed a takedown and dished out some of his trademark ground and pound. An elbow from the top position brought the raucous MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd to their feet.
“The People’s Champ” slowed considerably in the second round allowing Griffin to go to work. Though not known as a knockout artist by any stretch of the imagination, Griffin dished out a bevy of jabs and hooks that found their mark on the dome of Ortiz.
Going into the final five minutes of a Hall of Fame career, the fight seemed to be up for grabs. Both men gave it their all in the last round but it was Ortiz who grabbed the upper hand. Another stiff power shot sent Griffin rolling backwards and Ortiz landed another takedown midway through the round that should’ve sealed the deal.
When the judges’ scores were read, many were surprised that all three awarded the fight to Griffin, 29-28 Fight News scored the fight for Ortiz, 29-28, awarding the former “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” the first and last round.
Le earns first UFC win, does it “for the 40-year-olds”
After taking an amazing amount of punishment against Wanderlei Silva, former Strikeforce champion Cung Le bounced back, outclassing Patrick Cote in a unanimous decision victory. For fifteen minutes, Le put on a vintage performance, landing foot sweeps, awe inspiring kicks and punches at close range. Cote was unable to find his rhythm over the duration of the bout. When Cote looked to find his range, Le backed him up with kicks to the midsection.
All three judges scored the fight 30-27.
“I did this for the 40-year-olds,” an excited Le said after the bout.
Maia stops Kim in welterweight debut
Demian Maia needed little time to put away Dong Hyun Kim. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace went back to his roots, taking Kim down early in the first round. Kim appeared to hit the mat hard allowing Maia to get a full mount. After a pair of strikes, the referee halted the bout at the 37 second mark.
Mendes steamrolls McKenzie
In the biggest mismatch of the night, former title contender Chad Mendes plowed through Ultimate Fighter contestant Cody McKenzie. Mendes caught a kick and blasted McKenzie with a vicious body shot that sent the prospect crashing to the mat. A couple hammer fists later and Mendes was doing his celebratory back flip. Time of stoppage was 31 seconds.
Easton hesitant, but earns victory over Menjivar
Call it pre-fight jitters or an over respect of the others talents, Mike Easton and Ivan Menjivar went to battle for fifteen minutes…and produced no fireworks. The majority of the bout was spent with Easton chasing Menjivar, Menjivar backing up and the pair trading off the mark haymakers. The judges scored the contest 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
Melvin Guillard got back in the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Fabricio Camoes. Guillard fought a much calmer fight than fans were used to seeing and also showed off improved take down and ground defense. He rocked Camoes on occasion with his heavy hands, but remained composed instead of going for the immediate kill. All three judges scored the bout 30-27.
Khabib Nurmagomedov kept his unbeaten streak alive, defeating massive light weight Gleison Tibau. While he didn’t inflict much damage, Nurmagomedov pressed the action in all three rounds. The judges had it 29-28 across the board.
Costa Phillipou employed a good defensive strategy to earn a decision win over Riki Fukuda. The hard hitting New Yorker had trouble finding his range against the elusive Fukuda. Phillipou went for broke late in the third round after recovering from an eye poke that threatened to end the fight but was unable to put Fukuda away in a bout that left the crowd frustrated by the lack of action. The judges scored the contest 30-27 twice and 29-28.
Shane Roller snapped a three-fight losing skid, using his wrestling skills to control the pace against “The Natural” John Alessio. Alessio got the better of the college wrestling standout on the feet, but spent too much time trying to escape Roller’s clutches on the canvas. Roller threatened to finish in the final frame via rear-naked choke but couldn’t sink in the potential fight-ending hold. The judges scored it 29-28 for Roller.
Rafaello Oliveira used his grappling skills to earn a unanimous decision victory over Yoislandy Izquierdo. “Tractor” continuously kept Izquierdo on the mat through the duration of the bout. All three judges saw it the same way, awarding Oliveira the bout by scores of 29-28.