By George Hernandez
UFC 117 in Oakland was probably the best fight card UFC has ever had. The five main card bouts all featured Brazil vs. USA with the USA coming out on top three wins to two. Two number one contender matches, a grudge match and a title fight provided for an action packed card of fights.
Hughes and Guida win by submission;
Matt Hughes faced Ricardo Almeida – a student of Renzo and Royce Gracie – two men Hughes has beat. Almeida is also a training partner of Mat Serra – another man Hughes defeated. Both fighters were looking for there distance to start the fight. Hughes connected on a left hook mid-way through the first round that rocked “Big Dog”. Hughes rushed in and looked to keep Almeida down. After getting a front headlock trying to drag Almeida back down Hughes squeezed enough that he was able to choke Almeida out cold. Hughes won his third straight fight and improved to 45-7 while Almeida lost his first fight as a welterweight and is now 12-4. (USA 1 – Brazil 0)
Clay Guida put on another exciting fight this time against Rafael Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos took the first two rounds by staying away from the takedown and landing fast strikes. Guida did land a good combo in the first round that looked to hurt Dos Anjos.
In the third round Guida got a takedown and landed some punches. Guida pushed Dos Anjos head against the cage and put his weight on him. Dos Anjos was forced to tap due to the pain, which turned out to be a broken jaw. Guida is now 37-11 while Dos Anjos falls to 14-5. (USA 2 – Brazil 0)
Dos Santos and Fitch earn title shots;
Junior Dos Santos took on “Big Country” Roy Nelson with the winner getting a shot at either Cain Velasquez or Brock Lesnar who will fight in October. It looked like the fight was going to end in the first round when Dos Santos connected on uppercuts and dropped Nelson. But Nelson stood tough and fought back and landed his own power punch that kept Dos Santos on his feet.
All three rounds went the same way with Dos Santos landing shot after shot and Nelson trying to land haymakers. Dos Santos improves to 12-1 and earns a heavyweight title shot, while Nelson falls to 15-5 but earned the respect of many fans and fighters after being the first man to go the distance with Dos Santos. (USA 2 – Brazil 1)
Jon Fitch used the GSP game plan to beat Thiago Alves. Fitch took Alves down at will round after round. Fitch did try a couple submission attempts but never really locked any in. Alves looked weak after not making weight which cost him 20 percent of his purse.
Fitch won on all three judges score cards and will face the winner of champ Georges St. Pierre and his teammate Josh Koscheck. Fitch is now 23-3. Alves has now lost two in a row and is 16-7. (USA 3 – Brazil 1)
Sonnen backs up his words but Silva pulls it out;
Chael Sonnen backed up all of the smack he talked before his championship bout with Anderson Silva. Sonnen rocked Silva early in the first round and took him down while also landing some hard ground and pound. In the second and third round Sonnen again took Silva down and never stopped throwing punches.
Silva came out in the fourth round knowing he needed a knockout or submission. He rocked Sonnen but Sonnen was able to get the takedown at will. In the fifth and final round it appeared Sonnen was on his way to a middleweight title. Sonnen took Silva down again and put pressure on him but he made one mistake. He was sitting up too straight while throwing a couple shots to the body and Silva was able to lock in a triangle. Sonnen almost got out but Silva moved to an arm bar and Sonnen was forced to tap. Sonnen argued the tap call but replays showed otherwise. Silva keeps his title and improves to 27-4. Sonnen, with a great showing, falls to 25-11-1. Next up for Silva is most likely a fight with Vitor Belfort. (USA 3 – Brazil 2)
Rick Story def. Dustin Hazelett by TKO – Round 2
Phil Davis def. Rodney Wallace by unanimous decision
Johny Hendricks def. Charlie Brenneman by TKO – Round 2
Tim Boetsch def. Todd Brown by unanimous decision
Stefan Struve def. Christian Morecraft by TKO – Round 2
Dennis Hallman def. Ben Saunders by unanimous decision