Chael Sonnen once again did most of the talking. Just like UFC 117, he doled out most of the punishment. And just like their first fight, it was Anderson Silva who came out on top and retained his middleweight title.
Sonnen, who took Silva down just five seconds into the fight, missed a spinning back fist and tripped over the champion's leg to start the dramatic final sequence. Silva quickly jumped on top of Sonnen and landed a series of blows, forcing referee Yves Lavigne to stop it at 1:55 of the second before a huge crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"He's a true champion, man," Sonnen said. "He got me with a good shot. I was on the ground, he got me with a good knee and other than that, I'm going to have to look at the tape."
It was another heartbreaking defeat for Sonnen, who talked an inordinate amount of trash prior to both fights and dominated both of them until the finish. In their first fight, on August 7, 2010, in Oakland, Calif., that dominance extended for four-and-a-half rounds.
On Saturday, Sonnen wasted no time in taking Silva down. Silva spent all but four seconds of the first round on his back, trying to avoid strikes from Sonnen.
The key this time, though, was that Silva was able to defend himself better on the ground. While Sonnen clearly won the round, Silva didn't take the kind of damage he did the first time.
Sonnen was pushing the pace in the second, too, and seemed to be backing Silva up. He went for the spinning back fist as they were near the cage. Silva eluded it and Sonnen seemed to stumble over his ankle.
The long and often bitter feud between them seemed to end when the fight did. As Silva was being interviewed in the cage, he walked to Sonnen, put his right arm around the fallen challenger's shoulder and patted him on the back.
They shook hands and then Silva referenced one of Sonnen's taunts, when he said he would pat Silva's wife on the butt after he beat him and order her to make him a steak.
"I'd like you over to my house and we can barbecue," Silva said.
It was a dramatic conclusion to one of the biggest bouts in UFC history. Sonnen congratulated Silva after it was over, and Silva seemed to accept it as an apology.