UFC 117 Live Coverage
The Times is live in Oakland for Saturday night's UFC 117 event, headlined by a UFC Middleweight Title bout between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Chael Sonnen. We will have coverage of the entire card.
Ben Saunders vs. Dennis Hallman
Saunders is a well regarded prospect but has suffered setbacks challenging welterweight contenders Mike Swick and Jon Fitch. Hallman is a longtime veteran of the sport with a pair of wins over UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes. At the weigh-ins, Saunders looked like a significantly larger man and holds a six inch height advantage. Hallman enters to "Man in the Mirror."
Round 1. Hallman immediately clinches and pushes Saunders against the cage. Saunders defends the takedown well. Hallman keeps at it and scores the takedown a minute and half into the fight. Hallman looks to work into side control but Saunders is able to retain half guard. Hallman throws a few light elbows but is mostly struggling to pass guard. Hallman throws some punches from the top, which are more impactful than the earlier elbows. 10-9 Hallman.
Round 2. The fighters trade to start the round, with Hallman throwing straight punches and Saunders answering with knees and body kicks. As Saunders throws a left Hallman switches levels and takes Saunders down. Hallman has Saunders pressed against the cage. The crowd boos the ground game, even though Hallman has been quite active beyond the first half of the first round. Saunders looks for an armbar from the bottom but Hallman escapes and gains side control. Hallman looks for crucifix position but can't get it. Hallman throws punches instead. Saunders works back into a butterfly guard while Hallman focuses on landing punches more than going for a submission or gaining better position. The crowd continues to boo - seems like an atypically uneducated crowd for MMA in 2010. 10-9 Hallman.
Round 3. Saunders needs to finish. Saunders opens up with a flurry of looping hooks and appears to stun Hallman with one. He follows with a head kick but Hallman again clinches and looks for a takedown. Hallman has Saunders pressed against the cage and the referee separate the fighters. Saunders starts backing up Hallman with punches and Hallman is mostly just defending. Saunders lands some hard punches and knees to the body. Hallman, known for questionable cardio at times, appears to be fading. However, Hallman gets a key takedown with a minute and a half remaining in the fight. Hallman throws some punches from the top and Saunders some elbows from the bottom as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Saunders, 29-28 Hallman.
Winner: Dennis Hallman, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28). This is a huge setback for Saunders. After the fight, Hallman apologizes to other fighters for his remarks on HDNet's Inside MMA television program (Hallman claimed as many as 50 percent of MMA fighters use steroids). Hallman labeled that comment "ignorant and short-sighted."
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft
Struve is one of the tallest major league competitors in the sport. The undefeated Morecraft is making his UFC debut and has ended all his previous fights in the first round.
Round 1. Morecraft moves in with punches, clinches, and throws Struve to the mat. Morecraft throws some heavy elbows. He then postures up and starts hammering Struve with big punches. Struve grabs a triangle and armbar and uses that to briefly reverse but Morecraft ends up back on top. Struve grabs a guillotine but Morecraft escapes. Morecraft then begins again with big punches. Struve looks for another triangle but Morecraft escapes and again starts nailing Struve with huge offense. Morecraft has really impressive ground and pound. He just keeps firing away and Struve is bleeding from the mouth. Morecraft gains mount and this is major trouble for Struve. Struve tries to grab an ankle but can't get it. Morecraft looks to secure a guillotine but releases it as the round comes to an end. Morecraft made one heck of an impression in that round. 10-8 Morecraft.
Round 2. Morecraft moves in with heavy punches from the standing position but Struve catches him with a counter right punch and knocks Morecraft silly. He follows with punches on the ground and referee Herb Dean steps in to stop the fight. That was an absolutely incredible come from behind win and will unquestionably air on the live pay-per-view event. Struve celebrates all around the cage. He is a very happy man. Morecraft just got careless and overconfident.
Winner: Stefan Struve, TKO, round 2.
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown
Boetsch returns to UFC competition in this fight. He was cut from the promotion following a 2-2 UFC record last year. He had a spectacular win against David Heath at UFC 81. Brown makes his UFC debut.
Round 1. Boetsch throws a series of kicks at the start. Nothing connects with impact. Boetsch grabs a single leg and pushes Brown against the cage. Boetsch finally gets a trip takedown two minutes in. Brown stands back up. Boetsch lands a hard knee to the head and follows that with a head kick and a stiff uppercut that staggers Brown. Brown recovers and circles out of danger. Boetsch looks for a judo throw but doesn't get it all the way. 10-9 Boetsch.
Round 2. Brown presses Boetsch against the cage. They separate and Boetsch lands a nice body punch. Brown lands a few jabs and leg kicks. The crowd starts booing again. Boetsch has more behind his shots but Brown is much more active this round. Brown's best shots are his leg kicks. Boetsch comes in with a hard knee to the head. Brown hits Boetsch with a hook that cuts him at the end of the round. Close round. 10-9 Brown.
Round 3. Brown continues to be more aggressive, faking and throwing jabs. Boetsch has slowed down since the first round. Boetsch gets a takedown two minutes in and is in Brown's half guard next to the cage. Boetsch throws a few punches but Brown works back to his feet. Boetsch moves in and lands a pair of nice uppercuts. Brown clinches and looks for a takedown of his own. He can't get it and Boetsch ends up taking Brown down. Relatively even fight. 10-9 Boetsch, 29-28 Boetsch.
Winner: Tim Boetsch, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman
Brenneman has a wrestling background and a 1-0 UFC record but he'll have trouble outwrestling the 4 time All-American and 2 time national champion wrestler Hendricks. Hendricks is still learning the game but with an undefeated record, elite pedigree and innate toughness he could be a championship level fighter one day.
Round 1. They clinch and throw heavy punches at each other to start. Hendricks controls Brenneman's neck and lands some knees. Brenneman keeps one hand on the ground so Hendricks can't legally throw knees to the head. Brenneman throws a nice punch combination and Hendricks backs up. Brenneman takes Hendricks down but can't do anything at all. The referee stands them up. Brenneman lands some nice punches and a knee. He takes Hendricks down again at the close of the round. Very good round for Brenneman. 10-9 Brenneman.
Round 2. Crazy round. Hendricks opens up with wild punches. He drops Brenneman with a punch. Brenneman gets up and fires back, but Hendricks drops him again. This pattern continues with Brenneman getting up and getting knocked back down over and over until finally the referee steps in. Brenneman showed great heart but Hendricks has a lot of power in his punches and just kept coming.
Winner: Johny Hendricks, TKO, round 2.
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis
Wallace has the tremendous nickname "Sho Nuff the Master." He is 0-2 in the UFC. Davis is taking this fight on short notice. He is considered a top prospect for the sport and trains at the highly regarded American Kickboxing Academy. However he is still developing his standup and submission games and is considered far from a finished product at this point.
Round 1. Davis lands a high kick. Wallace looks to Davis down but Davis defends easily and gets his own takedown. Davis throws some punches from the top and looks to pass into mount. He follows with elbows and gets mount. Wallace gets up but Davis grabs a guillotine and then throws Wallace back down. Davis mounts again. He continually throws elbows and punches but not with a lot of power. One-sided round but not at the 10-8 level. 10-9 Davis.
Round 2. Davis throws another nice high kick early in the round and again takes Wallace down. Davis secures mount but then moves into side control. He looks for an Americana submission but Wallace avoids that. Wallace stands up but Davis gets him right back down. Davis throws some elbows and looks to isolate Wallace's right arm. Davis has Wallace's arm trapped behind his back and looks to crank a kimura. Wallace avoids that but Davis has him mounted and opens up with punches at the close of the round. Another completely dominant round. 10-8 Davis this time.
Round 3. Davis again opens the round with a high kick and the crowd reacts big this time. The crowd was quick to boo earlier but they haven't done that in a while. Davis lands a nice body kick and straight punch. Davis takes Wallace down again. Davis looks for the kimura but can't get it. Wallace stands back up. Davis then takes him back down. Davis mounts Wallace again. He then looks for a kimura again unsuccessfully. The crowd boos at the conclusion of the fight. Davis is really good at control but his finishes aren't all the way there. 10-9 Davis, 30-26 Davis.
Winner: Phil Davis, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27).
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story
Hazelett is a fun fighter to watch with great submissions. Story has been in some very entertaining UFC fights as well.
Round 1. Story charges forward with punches. Hazelett hops on him and looks to pull guard but Story slams Hazelett down and fires down punches. Hazelett looks for an armbar but isn't close. They stand again and Story aggressively fires punches at Hazelett. He takes Hazelett down and secures side control. He then stands back up. Hazelett gets up and Story takes him right back down. They stand up. Story again begins throwing punches from all angles and takes Hazelett back down. Story looks for a kimura but releases it and uses some elbows instead. He then stands up again. Hazelett this time goes for a takedown of his own but Story stuffs it easily and takes top position again. He gets up again and has Hazelett return to his feet. Story peppers Hazelett with punches and takes him down again at the close of the round. There have been some real one-sided first rounds tonight. 10-8 Story.
Round 2. Story again opens with punches and Hazelett just covers up. Hazelett goes down and the referee looked to be considering stepping in but Hazelett was able to defend. Hazelett looks completely beaten up, tied and dispirited. He's wobbly and Story is moving in for the kill. He keeps punching, Hazelett just covers up, and the referee stops it. Terrible performance by Hazelett, great one by Story.
Winner: Rick Story, TKO, round 2.
The crowd looks pretty filled out throughout as the pay-per-view begins. Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva both receive mixed reactions during the opening video package.
Roy Nelson vs. Junior Dos Santos
This fight will determine the next contender for the Brock Lesnar-Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight title bout. Dos Santos been dominant in the UFC with wins over Mirko Cro Cop, Fabricio Werdum and Gabriel Gonzaga. He is the best striker in the UFC heavyweight division. Nelson is a well rounded fighter with a great ground game. He is very popular from his stint on the Ultimate Fighter and his big belly. There are a number of Brazilian flags throughout the building with every fight on the main card featuring an American against a Brazilian.
Round 1. Nelson looks to close the distance. He throws a punch and shoots for a takedown. Dos Santos defends well and Nelson has to give it up and back up. Dos Santos stuns Nelson with a jab and sends him staggering backwards. Dos Santos opens with a barrage of punches and has Nelson in huge trouble but Nelson has a great chin. Dos Santos lands a huge hook right on the button that Nelson somehow withstands. Dos Santos backs up but then quickly gains the advantage again with a powerful uppercut. That drops Nelson and Dos Santos again moves to finish. Nelson is in huge trouble but is able to stay in the fight and fire back a punch. Dos Santos hammers the body with knees in addition to the power punches from all directions. Dos Santos has Nelson in huge trouble again at the end of the round with punches but Nelson holds on. The crowd erupts at the end of the round. Easy 10-8 round for Dos Santos. The night of dominant first rounds continues.
Round 2. Nelson moves in again. He lands a punch and goes for a takedown but can't get it. Dos Santos fires more heavy punches looking for the finish. The crowd has been buzzing for minutes on end. Dos Santos eases up a little bit and is throwing more in the way of jabs to conserve energy. Nelson is throwing some big haymakers of his own but hasn't landed particularly well yet. Nelson shoots for a takedown and gets it really deep but Dos Santos impressively defends it. Dos Santos shoots himself but has it blocked. Dos Santos has a cut under his eye. He throws body punches but doesn't have the pop from the first round any more. He lands some nice hooks and Nelson keeps pushing forward. Nelson shoots but is thrown off at the close of the round. 10-9 Dos Santos.
Round 3. Dos Santos lands a nice body kick and straight left. He moves in on Nelson but Nelson answers with counterpunches. Dos Santos catches Nelson with nice uppercut and another body punch. He keeps pushing back Nelson with his shots. Dos Santos shoots and gets a takedown but Nelson stands up. They hit each other with jabs. Nelson throws a huge overhand right but it misses. Dos Santos lands a knee to the stomach and Nelson answers with a leg kick. Dos Santos uses an uppercut and knee. Nelson doesn't have much gas left as the fight comes to a close. They trade punches as the fight ends. Great fight. Dos Santos showed very good takedown defense to go with his excellent striking but did seem to run a little low on energy towards the end. 10-9 Dos Santos, 30-26 Dos Santos.
Winner: Junior Dos Santos, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27).
Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida
Hughes is a UFC Hall of Famer and longtime UFC welterweight champion. Almeida is a jiu jitsu standout with a 3 fight winning streak. These two competed in a submission grappling bout years ago, with Hughes winning.
Round 1. Almeida is in more of an orthodox striking stance than Hughes. Each man throws a few kicks. Hughes clinches but doesn't come close to a takedown. Almeida is having more success with strikes but isn't landing anything big at all. Hughes all of a sudden drops Almeida with a hook and chokes Almeida out. That was a very surprising ending.
Winner: Matt Hughes, submission, round 1. Hughes says the choke was an old wrestling move he was happy to use.
Clay Guida vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Guida is a popular fighter with distinctive hair and tons of energy. Dos Anjos is a solid overall fighter coming off an impressive win over Terry Etim.
Round 1. Dos Anjos and Guida start swinging with wild hooks. Dos Anjos misses a head kick but Guida immediately follows with a head kick that lands. They trade with Guida landing the better shots. Dos Anjos then buckles Guida with an inside leg kick. Dos Anjos shoots for a takedown but Guida blocks it and moves for his own takedown. Dos Anjos defends that. They separate and Dos Anjos lands a crisp straight left punch. Dos Anjos shoots for a takedown but doesn't come close. Dos Anjos lands a high kick and then a leg kick. He lands a quality uppercut and takes Guida down with 30 seconds left in the round. Guida stands up at the end of the round. Very close round. Dos Anjos pulled ahead narrowly at the end. 10-9 Dos Anjos.
Round 2. Guida and Dos Anjos engage standing. Neither man is able to land much. Dos Anjos gets the better of the standup slightly with a leg kick and a hook that lands. Late in the round Guida secures a takedown. He works to pass guard but can't do it. He lands some punches from the top. 10-9 Guida.
Round 3. Guida throws a series of hooks but nothing lands. Guida goes for a takedown and gets a big slam. He throws a few knees to the body of Dos Anjos. Guida pushes Dos Anjos' jaw and neck against the cage and Dos Anjos taps out apparently from that. That was kind of a strange finish. Dos Anjos was clutching his jaw afterwards and commentator Joe Rogan suggested that Guida might have broken Dos Anjos' jaw in the first round.
Winner: Clay Guida, submission, round 3.
Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves
The winner of this fight may get the next welterweight title shot against the winner of Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck. Fitch almost certainly will if he wins but Alves missed weight again for this fight so things are less clear if he wins. These two are widely regarded as the #2 and #3 fighters in the welterweight division. Fitch is a great wrestler and a tough grinder. Alves is a bruising striker with strong takedown defense. Fitch and Alves are pacing back and forth staring at each other on opposite sides of the Octagon.
Round 1. After a brief feeling out process, Fitch grabs Alves and throws him to the mat. Fitch moves to Alves' back and looks to sink in his hooks. Alves calmly stands back up. Fitch keeps a hold on Alves and pulls him back down. Alves then stands back up. Fitch keeps a grip on Alves' waist and throws him down yet again. Alves again stands up and takes top position. He immediately starts throwing hard punches. Alves then stands back up. Fitch throws a pair of knees from the clinch and separates. Fitch shoots but Alves stuffs the takedown attempt. Fitch scores another takedown at the end of the round. Close round. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 2. Alves moves forward with punches and Fitch takes him down. Alves tries for a guillotine but doesn't have it tight and lets it go. Alves looks to stand up and Fitch tries to take him back down. Alves and Fitch continue to struggle for position. Fitch gets Alves down and throws a few punches. Alves moves up again and Fitch pulls him down again. This is becoming a trend. The crowd starts to boo and understandably so. Alves gets away from Fitch's grip. Alves throws a series of punches but nothing lands big. Dull round. 10-9 Fitch.
Round 3. Alves pushes forward towards Fitch. Fitch lands a nice leg kick in response. Alves hits a jab. He follows with more punches and a head kick. Fitch goes for a takedown but Alves avoids it. Fitch grabs Alves' waist and pulls Alves down. Fitch gains mount with his legs wrapped together. He takes Alves' back and looks for a rear naked choke. Alves rolls around and gets top position. Alves stands up and throws some punches at the close. 10-9 Fitch, 30-27 Fitch. Fitch gestures that he wants the title. Too bad nobody is going to want to see him compete for the title.
Winner: Jon Fitch, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
Sonnen has talked an amazing amount of trash trying to sell this fight. Silva at the weigh-ins yesterday wouldn't look at Sonnen and just smirked at him. Sonnen is a very good wrestler and will look to ground Silva. Silva is an explosive striker and will pick Sonnen apart if it doesn't go to the ground. Sonnen gets more boos than cheers as he enters. Silva gets a loud mixed reaction of boos and cheers with more cheers. Sonnen is standing in the cage gesturing for Silva to come down. Silva is the crowd favorite for the introductions. They touch gloves at the start.
Round 1. Sonnen moves forward and gets caught with a couple counterpunches. Sonnen shoots and is blocked. Loud "Silva' chants. Sonnen throws a kick that is caught by Silva. Sonnen staggers Silva with a straight left punch and hammers punches from the clinch. He hits Silva with another hard punch. Silva clinches and they go to the ground. They stand back up quickly however. Sonnen catches Silva with another big pair of punches. Sonnen is winning the standup and nailing Silva right on the chin. Sonnen then lands the takedown. Sonnen throws huge punches from the top. Silva looks to stand up but Sonnen keeps him down. Sonnen keeps landing punches on Silva and looks for a choke. Sonnen postures up and lands a huge punch on Silva. Sonnen unloads with heavy punches and the crowd explodes. This is shocking. Sonnen is destroying Silva.10-8 Sonnen.
Round 2. Silva throws a kick. Sonnen catches it and takes Silva back down. Big "USA" chants. Silva is just holding on and trying to get a standup. Sonnen tries to get a break from Silva's grip and finally does. Sonnen is throwing light, almost mocking punches to the face of Silva. He then follows with harder punches. Silva looks for an armbar but can't get it. Silva doesn't look to be in as much danger as he was the first round but he is getting dominated. Sonnen throws some elbows and avoids Silva's attempts to trap an arm from the bottom. Silva looks for a kimura and then a heel hook at the close of the round. 10-9 Sonnen.
Round 3. Silva lands a pair of nice hooks at the start of the third round. He's moving around a lot. He throws a low kick. Sonnen shoots and gets a takedown pretty easily. He throws punches repeatedly to Silva's head. Silva isn't defending at all but they aren't hard. "Sonnen" chants. Sonnen throws punches to the body and controls Silva. Sonnen's pace has slowed but Silva has no answers. Sonnen keeps grounding and pounding away and that's it for the third. Anderson Silva is going to need to finish this fight or he will lose his title. 10-9 Sonnen, 30-26 Sonnen thus far.
Round 4. Sonnen walk into a punch and kick from Silva. Silva staggers Sonnen with a punch and goes to town. Silva opens up with a huge kicks and a series of big hooks. Sonnen goes for a desperation takedown and Silva allows him to pull guard. Silva is on top of Sonnen but this could be an enormous mistake by Silva not to stand up and try to finish. Sonnen regains his senses and takes top position. That was a colossal strategic blunder by Silva to go to the ground with Sonnen, even on top. If he had backed off this might be a different fight but now Sonnen is back on top pounding away. Sonnen lands some nice punches and Silva isn't threatening from the bottom with submissions. Sonnen continues with uncontested shots. Close round, not that it matters at this point. Sonnen had a longer time of control but Silva had him in big trouble early. Narrow 10-9 round for Sonnen. 40-35 Sonnen. There is a huge cut above Sonnen's eye.
Round 5. Sonnen shoots wildly at the start of the round and Silva avoids it. Silva either slips or gets stunned by a punch and Sonnen gains top position again. He looks for an arm triangle choke but Silva gets out. Sonnen works for better position but still ends up in guard. Sonnen throws some hammerfists and then some bigger punches. With two minutes left Silva applies a triangle and armbar. Sonnen taps and that's it. Sonnen claims not to have tapped but he tapped. That was without exagerration the most stunning come-from-behind win in MMA history.
Winner: Anderson Silva, submission, round 5.
Silva is booed loudly afterwards for whatever reason. Sonnen just says he had his opportunity and came up short.