Chael Sonnen vs Wanderlei Silva looked like a bit of a time capsule fight on paper and the action that the two men delivered inside the cage at Bellator NYC on Saturday night was certainly reminiscent of something from a bygone era.
As MMAFighting journalist Luke Thomas put it early in the fight, this was “2007-era MMA at it’s most real”.
This is 2007-era MMA at its most real.
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) June 25, 2017
In the end, Sonnen’s takedowns and smothering top-control were too much for his fellow aged warrior Silva. Despite getting dropped pretty hard by a shot to the temple towards the end of the first round, Sonnen won every session on all three judges’ scorecards. One official even gave ‘The Bad Guy’ a 10-8 round somewhere along the way.
If it wasn’t enough that Sonnen’s grinding performance dragged viewers kicking and screaming back to the mid-noughties, the 40-year-old former multiple-time UFC title challenger brought us even further back in time with his unbelievably cheesy post-fight promo, in which he expressed a strong distaste for the event’s host city, New York, claimed that he had actually submitted recent conqueror Tito Ortiz in under a minute, and bizarrely called out heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, a man who was only minutes removed from a a rather nasty Matt Mitrione induced nap.
“You are going to find out, just like Wanderlei and Tito,” Sonnen said to Emelianenko, “you never piss off a gangster.”
‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund wouldn’t have looked out of place holding the microphone to Chael’s mouth, because this was pure 1980’s WWF from beginning to end.
As hammy as Sonnen’s post-fight antics were, Tito Ortiz played the cartoonish heel with just as much gusto at cageside. Throughout the fight, the supposedly retired ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ yelled insults at Sonnen. When fans began to boo Ortiz and bellow derogatory chants at him, the former UFC light-heavyweight champion stood up, flipped them the bird and encouraged them to raise their voices a few decibels.
The fact that we got a split-screen shot of Ortiz and Sonnen at one point during the latter’s promo makes one wonder if Bellator are building toward a rematch between the pair at some point in the not too distant future.
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