Check out Bloody Elbow’s recap of Bellator NYC’s main event between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. After a night of wacky fights on Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva, one of the most bitter feuds in recent MMA history finally received some semblance of closure after Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen finally fought each other inside the Bellator cage. And it wasn’t half bad.
The first round saw Sonnen secure an early takedown of Silva — which would really be the story of this entire fight. In full mount Sonnen landed punches and elbows, with little resistance put up by his foe. Posturing up with ease, Sonnen showed off his clear size and strength advantage over the Brazilian. However, one posture gave Silva just enough space to explode to his feet. After a little clinch against the cage, they separated and Silva landed a knee to Sonnen’s face, as he stooped down for another takedown attempt. Sonnen was dropped, but when Silva followed his rival to the ground, he was met with a closed guard. Sonnen eventually wormed his way back to his feet, where he bull-rushed Silva back to the ground. Sonnen held top position for the remainder of the round.
Both men came out lively for the second round. A hopping knee for Sonnen landed around Silva’s chest and elicited the wild swinging punches we associate with the Axe Murderer of old. One might have landed, but a half-hearted takedown from Sonnen was enough to end the flurry. As they slumped to the ground, Silva caught Sonnen in a guillotine choke, which looked tight at first. However, it quickly became apparent that both men were exhausted and that Silva’s choke attempt was of little danger to Sonnen. The pair decided to stay in this position for around a minute, which was hilarious. Eventually Big John McCarthy saw enough and decided to stand them back up. At the restart Sonnen completed yet another takedown. And, just like in the first round, he finished the round in top position.
At the beginning of the final round Sonnen launched another takedown at Silva, who was powerless to stop it. After a tangle on the ground, Sonnen squirmed into half mount. The majority of the round was spent with Sonnen teasing a kimura and landing an occasional elbow to Silva’s dome. As clock ticked down Sonnen got to full mount, then side control; where he tried for a head and arm choke. Even though Silva looked tired, he still had enough energy to shuck off any submission the American Gangster seriously attempted. With seconds left on the clock, Silva showed no interest in getting off the canvas on his own (hoping instead that Big John would do it for him). But the third ended just like the other rounds, with Sonnen in a dominant position.
When the final bell rang, Silva shared his disgust – clearly he was not satisfied with the fight Sonnen had given him. This looked like sour grapes after Sonnen’s professional performance had effectively neutralized the formerly dangerous Brazilian for 95% of the fight. In the end, it was an easy decision for the judges – who scored it 30-27, 30-27, and 30-26 for Sonnen.
On the mic Sonnen cut one of his trademark promos, which was mildly interrupted by a delicate nudge from Silva who was exiting the cage. Nonplussed Sonnen continued with his diatribe, attempting to set-up a fight with the recently concussed Fedor Emelianenko.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Even though the mannequin challenge is so 2016, the minute long freeze frame of Sonnen lightly being held in a guillotine hug by Silva is my highlight of the fight. If nothing else, it elicited a collectors’ item in the form of a referee standing two fighters up despite there being a clear submission attempt theoretically in place.
Where do these two go from here?
Chael Sonnen clearly wants a crack at The Last Emperor, which feels like a fight Coker would make. If Emelianenko is done with Bellator, there will be other fights for Sonnen; who showed that he still has mileage as a shameless self-promoter and a competitive fighter within Bellator’s dad-bod division.
Watch now, later, or never?
Check it out now. I thought the fight delivered more action than what was expected. Sonnen’s performance was also redeeming given his last showing (versus Tito Ortiz) and is worth watching for that reason, too.
The top game of @ChaelSonnen is taking over this fight! #BellatorNYC pic.twitter.com/NgDfJ2OwnZ— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 25, 2017
And just like that, it’s one more in the win column for the ‘Bad Guy’ #BellatorNYC @ChaelSonnen pic.twitter.com/LLrzizg4ws— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 25, 2017