BOSTON, August 17 - After title fight losses to Anderson Silva (twice) and Jon Jones, it was easy to count Chael Sonnen out of his UFC Fight Night main event against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Saturday night. Someone didn’t tell the “Gangster from West Linn” though, as he dominated and then submitted the former UFC light heavyweight champion in the first round at TD Garden.
Not surprisingly, as soon as the dust settled, he continued to call for a fight with Rua’s good friend and former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva. And while there will be enough said in the coming days and weeks about that prospective matchup, tonight was all about Sonnen being in top form when he needed to be.
In another non-shocker, Sonnen shot for and got the takedown as soon as the two were waved into action by referee Herb Dean, but Rua wasn’t going to stay there for long, as he got right back to his feet and put Sonnen on the seat of his pants. Sonnen effectively escaped, sending Rua to the mat with a quick throw. Shogun tried to hold Sonnen close to force a standup, but Sonnen stayed busy with short, point scoring punches. As the round progressed, Sonnen postured up and tried to put more mustard on his shots, just missing with a couple home run swings. With 30 seconds left, Sonnen began to let Rua up, but only to trap him in a guillotine choke. Seconds later, at the 4:47 mark, the Brazilian tapped, giving Sonnen one of his most impressive wins.
With the win, Sonnen improves to 29-13-1; Rua, who has lost two straight for the first time in his career, falls to 21-8.
Check out Chael Sonnen's post-fight interview