Tonight, Inside Fights is providing the very best live coverage for UFC 117: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen pay per view, which originates from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The main card airs live on pay-per-view.
The card is stacked from top-to-bottom, headlined by UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva defending his title against Chael Sonnen. In the co-main event of the evening, Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch will lock horns in a rematch of their 2006 encounter with number one contender status for the UFC Welterweight title on the line.
Follow along with our round-by-round updates and official results beginning at 10 PM ET for the main card or check out SMS’ predictions for three of the top fights until the main card begins.
Welcome fight fans for our live coverage of UFC 117. After taking a rare full month away from pay per view the UFC returns with a stacked card headlined by the eagerly anticipated World Middleweight Title fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. In support are two number one contender fighters with Junior Dos Santos and Roy Nelson meeting in the heavyweight division and Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves meeting in the welterweight division. Also on the card is popular lightweight Clay Guida taking on Rafael Dos Anjos in what should be a firecracker of a match, and UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes takes on Ricardo Almeida in a fight that should give us a better idea of where the former welterweight champion currently stands in the welterweight division. And to add a little extra spice, all main card fights pit an American fighter against a Brazilian.
Final Eliminator Fight for World Heavyweight Title
Junior Dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson
We kick things off with the fight that will determine who will face the winner of Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez. Junior Dos Santos is the heavy favorite with a resume of recent victories that is second only to Lesnar in the heavyweight having demolished veterans Werdum, Gonzaga, Yviel and Cro Cop. Dos Santos combines the best boxing technique in the division with an intensity based on his pace and power. Nelson will be hoping to use his deceptive quickness to avoid the punches of Dos Santos, getting in close enough to test the Brazilian on the ground for the first time in Dos Santos’ UFC career.
Dos Santos is looking to connect early but Nelson is able to avoid the punches. Nelson goes for a single-leg takedown, can’t get it but is able to push Dos Santos against the cage. Nelson goes for a belly-to-belly throw, pushes Dos Santos right across the Octagon but still can’t get the takedown. Nelson eats a knee on the break, and Dos Santos is now starting to eat him up on the feet. Really nice boxing combinations from Dos Santos, with his uppercut doing real damage. Dos Santos comes very close to finishing it in the fourth minute, knocking Nelson down with the uppercut and unloading on The Ultimate Fighter winner with fearsome punches to the head. Nelson gets back to his feet and is in survival mode but is able to land a couple of big right hands. Round ends with Dos Santos hunting down Nelson. 10-9 to Dos Santos.
Nelson connects with a big right hand, but can’t get the takedown. Dos Santos has shown fearsome takedown defense early on. Dos Santos is again able to get the uppercut through Nelson’s boxing guard, which is probably a tad high and open at the elbows. Dos Santos has slowed down, still throwing punches but without the zest of the first round. Nelson is coming into this fight more, but as he can’t get Dos Santos down he’s reduce to throwing desperation looping punches. Nelson shoots for the double-leg takedown and almost gets it but the cage saves Dos Santos. Nelson holds Dos Santos up against the cage but cannot complete the takedown. Nelson lands a big right hand on the break. Dos Santos goes for the takedown but Nelson successfully sprawls. Dos Santos has success towards the end with short punches. Round ends with Nelson again going for a takedown but being shoved away by Dos Santos. Closer round but I’d still give it to Dos Santos, who on my scorecard is now ahead 20-18.
Dos Santos really is giving Nelson an absolute beating but Big Country just won’t go down. Dos Santos shoots for a takedown, gets it but Nelson quickly gets back on his feet. Dos Santos is seemingly connecting at will, Nelson’s footwork and headmovement is completely gone. The fight is petering out, with both fighters very tired and running out of ideas. Dos Santos is trying to work kicks and knees into his boxing but can’t find the extra gear needed to finish, with Nelson only able to offer isolated punches in return. Dos Santos takes the final round, winning the fight 30-27 on my scorecard. He showed a lot in this fight, demonstrating the takedown defense that he will need to be competitive against either Brock Lesnar or Cain Velasquez.
The judges score the fight 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Junior Dos Santos
Joe Rogan is talking to UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture who will taking on champion boxer James ‘Lights Out’ Toney at UFC 118. Couture talking about why he wanted the fight and what he expects from Toney. As usual Couture plays it pretty low-key but promises to get the double leg and pound Toney out.
Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida
Interesting fight between the fighters who for very different reasons are currently at that level beneath genuine contenders at 170Ibs. Hughes has undoubtedly slowed down since losing to Thiago Alves in 2008 but since then has defeated Matt Serra and Renzo Gracie, two dominant performances that he didn’t recieve full credit for due to the current reputation of his opponents. Their training partner and friend Ricardo Almeida is a more relevant, current fighter who should give us a better idea about whether Hughes can still go. Interestingly the two met in a pure submission match in 2000, with the wrestler Hughes defeating BJJ expert Almeida on points.
Not much really happens in the early minutes with both fighters staying on the top of their feets, not willing to plant their feet and engage properly in the standup. Both throw some nice looking kicks but nothing is really happening. And then Hughes throws a huge left hook that knocks down Almeida, with Hughes quickly pouncing on Almeida applying a choke from basically a front facelock position.Very impressive from Hughes who’s standup is showing significant improvement and once again showed superior submission grappling based on brute strength.
Matt Hughes defeats Ricardo Almeida by submission at 3.15 in Round One by submission.
Clay Guida vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
This should be a good one, area of interest will be how much Guida has improved after training with Greg Jackson’s camp. Also I expect this to be the deciding bout in the USA vs. Brazil competition, as I’d expect Fitch to win the co-main and Silva to win the main event. Dos Anjos makes the first connection with some wild punches, Guida responds with a beautiful looking high kick that lands square on the face. Another furious boxing exchange between the two, although Dos Anjos is getting some joy with the in-leg kick. Dos Anjos goes for a takedown, Guida blocks and then goes for one of his own. Guida really struggling against the cage to get the single-leg. Dos Anjos lands a knee on the separation, and catches Guida with a big left-hand. Dos Anjos looks for a takedown, but shoots from too far away and its easily stuffed by Guida. Connects with another in-leg kick, and then throws a lovely uppercut. Dos Anjos gets the takedown but Guida fights back to his feet. 10-9 to Dos Anjos.
Guida is bouncing around the ring in an attempt to deny Dos Anjos the angles to connect with his punches. Guida does indeed look better better than in the first round but by being so light on his feet he’s not committing enough to make his striking count, although he does land some nice looking right hands. Guida successfully gets a takedown, with Dos Anjos frustrating with his guard. Dos Anjos goes for an omoplata but can’t get it. Guida moves to half-guard but is still unable to make the space to really work any ground and pound. Round ends with Dos Anjos moving Guida back into guard. Guida’s round, so we enter the third round with the fight even on my scorecard 19-19.
Tentative standup from Dos Anjos, which gives Guida the space to get the takedown at the start of the third round. Guida gets to half-guard, and is doing nice work with some good shots to the body. Guida is looking to move to side control and apply a choke, and in doing so presses his shoulder against the jaw of Dos Anjos. This causes Dos Anjos to immediately tap, with him complaining afterwards of a problem with his jaw.
Clay Guida defeats Rafael Dos Anjos via submission at 1.51 in Round Three
Joe Rogan is now speaking to James Toney, who is explaining why he has decided to make his UFC debut. Promises to knockout Couture.
They are now showing the Stefan Struve vs. Michael Morecraft fight from the pre-lims. Really fun fight, with Morecraft absolutely destroying Struve in the first round but Struve getting the big punch out of nowhere to finish the fight in the second round.
Final Eliminator Fight for World Welterweight Title
Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves
This is a catchweight fight as Thiago Alves failed to make weight, even at the second attempt. White surprised a lot of people when he announced that this fight would determine who would face the winner of George St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck; Alves has yet to fight since being mauled by GSP for five straight rounds and while Fitch has scored four victories since suffering an even worse mauling at the hands of the Canadian he’s failed to truly impress in any of them. Plus by having a fight in August determine who will face the winner of a December title fight you’re basically making the number one contender sit out for at least eight months. The decision was even more baffling given that Jake Shields and Martin Kampmann are facing at UFC 121, a fight that should create a fresh challenger and aligns better with the champion’s schedule.
Still this is the fight we have, with there being no indication that Alves has lost his chance at a welterweight title shot after failing to make weight. This is a rematch of their 2006 fight, having been twice delayed due to Alves’ recent health problems. Fitch won the first fight and should be the favorite to take this given his ability to takedown and neutralize anyone not named George St. Pierre. That said as he shown against Matt Hughes, Alves has impressive takedown defense, if he can keep the fight standing then he could punish Fitch with his Muay Thai. However, when you consider that Alves coming back from a year-long layoff and the hellacious experience he must have had with his weight cut (if you can’t cut the final 0.5Ibs then your body has basically gone on strike) I don’t see Alves having the energy or conditioning to push Fitch out of his comfort zone.
Fitch is stands with Alves for 40seconds, which is about 40seconds longer than I expected him to. Fitch gets the takedown, taking Alves’ back. Tries to control him on the ground with double underhooks but Alves is able to get back to his feet. Fitch still has his arms around Alves’ waist, takes him down a second time but Alves is again able to get back to his feet. Fitch responds with a suplex, but Alves is able to get top position. Fitch frustrates him with his guard, eventually forcing Alves to disengage and call for the standup. Fitch is showing sharp standup, working some nice boxing combinations. Fitch goes for a takedown but its stuffed by Alves. Fitch pushes Alves against the cage and gets the takedown. Fitch’s round, 10-9.
We begin with Fitch taking Alves down (no really), with Fitch just controlling the ground game without doing much damage. Alves scrambles to to the cage but is unable to get back to his feet. Fitch is just neutralizing Alves, who seemingly can do nothing to combat the top-game of Fitch. Alves repeatedly threatens to get back standing but Fitch is consistently taking him back down before he can plant his feet. And at the nine-minute mark the crowd start booing and cheer when Alves is able to reverse and get the hometown boy Fitch in a facelock. Alves disengages, throws some punches and kicks and closes the round pushing Fitch against the cage. Dominant round for Fitch, with Alves looking tired and lethargic. 20-18 to Jon Fitch.
Alves looks better at the start of the round, showing some zest in his punches and kicks. Fitch responds by shooting for a takedown, but Alves is able to sprawl to cheers from the crowd. Alves headhunts, overcommits and Fitch capitalizes on him being off balance to take Alves down. Fitch has Alves back, working to secure the position. Fitch gets the body triangle and eventually applies the arm triangle. Alves using the wall to sweep Fitch, but the American still has the body triangle so can control his posture. They stand up but no time left for anything meaningful on the feet. The crowd is not happy with boos raining down. I have it 30-27 for Jon Fitch.
All three judges give it 30-27 to the winner by unanimous decision Jon Fitch
World Middleweight Title Fight
Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva (c)
Forget the hype, ignore the trash talking the issue at the heart of this fight is very simple – can Chael Sonnen take Anderson Silva down AND control the champion on the ground. That second part is crucial, plenty of men have been able to take Silva down but no-one has been able to control him on the ground. Sonnen has some of the tools to do this – he has both excellent takedowns and ‘ground & pound’ as shown in his recent fights against Marquardt and Okami. But he has two weaknesses that may stop him fully using his wrestling to test Silva on the ground. The first is his submission defense, with there being plenty of examples where he has snatched or almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by being caught on the ground.
The second is not so much a weakness of Sonnen but a strength of Silva – the champion is lightening quick and accurate on his feet, with a long reach. As he showed against Maia, its incredibly difficult to get close enough to him to be able to make a serious takedown. If Sonnen can’t safely get into shooting distance then its difficult to see how he can take Silva down. Yes Silva lacks the sprawl to stuff Sonnen’s takedowns, but he may not need takedown defense if he can avoid the shot. Silva has so many ways to win, its difficult to see how Sonnen can win.
Here we go. Mixed reaction for both fighters, but I’d say more fans are cheering Silva. Big chant for Silva. Silva seems to be noticeably quicker than the challenger but Sonnen lands several big punches that rock the champion. Silva tries to take him down but Sonnen walks through it. Sonnen gets the takedown, Silva scoots to the cage but Sonnen is controlling him. Silva gives up his back, with Silva landing several punches to the champion’s head. Silva is being dominated on the ground, showing poor defense against ground strikes. Sonnen lands several big diving punches from the standing position. Round one ends with Sonnen working his ground and pound in Silva’s guard. Sonnen’s round, probably a 10-8.
Silva looks fresher on the ground but Sonnen responds by getting the the takedown. Silva tries to neutralize Sonnen on the ground by controlling the challenger’s posture from the bottom. Sonnen responds by boxing his head, which eventually forces Silva to become more active on the bottom, throwing some good elbows from the bottom. Sonnen content to work his ground and pound while remaining in guard. Sonnen seems to be tiring but postures up and lands a nice elbow. Silva is certainly defending himself far better, goes for an armbar but can’t secure. Sonnen lands an excellent left hand. Silva gets the body triangle, and is looking for an armbar. Sonnen varies the offense, throwing some elbows to the body. Silva tries to get back to his feet but Sonnen gets his back. Silva almost locks-in a kimura but Sonnen is able to escape. Another good round for Sonnen, who is ahead on my scorecard 20-17.
Again Silva looks good on his feet throwing a nice spinning back kick but again Sonnen is able to take him down at will. Silva is on his knees and elbows looking to grab the arm of Sonnen. Silva is taking a lot of unanswered punches to the head, and the referee takes a good long look. Silva is able to roll-through but Sonnen is still on top, albeit while in guard. Sonnen happy to stay there and just connect with numerous unanswered shots to the head of Silva. Silva is doing a good job of controlling Sonnen with the body triangle but no opportunity has really opened up for a submission. Sonnen really is dominating, landing some big punches. Another 10-8 round in my book, Sonnen ahead 30-25.
Silva lights up Sonnen standing, Sonnen goes for the takedown and Silva is able to sprawl. Silva then makes the mistake of staying on the ground, allowing Sonnen to sweep Silva, and is again dominating from within the guard of the champion. Silva is trying to neutralize the challenger to force a stand up but Sonnen is able to find the room to throw big punches, getting particular joy with looping right hands and elbows. Sil;va throws some vicious elbows off the bottom which cuts Sonnen, which won’t the champion’s attempts to get a submission any favors. Another round for Sonnen, who leads on my scorecard 40-34.
Silva tries to push the action standing but slips and is once again trapped on the ground by Sonnen. Sonnen moves for an arm-triangle but Silva is able to escape. Sonnen is once again in Silva’s guard, quite happy to just work the ground and pound. Silva lands a beautiful jab from the bottom which stuns Sonnen, lands some elbows which open up Sonnen allowing Silva to finally apply the triangle choke. Sonnen tries to escape but eventually taps at 3.10. There’s confusion at the end of the fight, with Sonnen seemingly claiming that he didn’t submit but the replay is conclusive. The two fighters embrace at the end, both showing respect after a hell of a main event. Anderson Silva compliments Sonnen on his performance, acknowledges that he was behind after all four rounds and says he knew he needed something big. Says that his performance was affected by a rib injury suffered 10days before the fight. Chael Sonnen also gives a classy interview, shows no rancour over the finish and says he just came up short.
Anderson Silva wins via submission at 3.10 in the fifth round to retain the world middleweight title.
That concludes our liveblog of UFC 117. Stay tuned to Inside Fights for the latest news and analysis.
Tags: anderson silva, ben saunders, Chael Sonnen, Charlie Brenneman, Christian Morecraft, clay guida, Dennis Hallman, dustin hazelett, Johny Hendricks, jon fitch, Junior dos Santos, Matt Hughes, Mixed Martial Arts, Phil Davis, Rafael dos Anjos, Ricardo Almeida, Rick Story, Rodney Wallace, Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve, Thiago Alves, Tim Boetsch, UFC 117, UFC.com