In the first main event in the history of Fox Sports 1, light heavyweight Chael Sonnen used a major wrestling advantage to defeat diminishing former champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua by first-round submission at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston.
Sonnen (28-13-1) wasted no time pressing that advantage, landing a double-leg takedown just seconds into the fight. Rua (21-8) showed resilience and perhaps some defiance, however, when he returned fire with a takedown of his own.
The two eventually struggled to their feet, where Sonnen secured a front headlock. With no advance warning, Sonnen immediately dropped to the floor, cinching on a guillotine choke and securing the tap with only 13 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
What we'll remember about this fight
Sonnen's submission. He did it against Brian Stann, and now he's done it against Rua. Those aren't exactly Abu Dhabi-level grapplers, but when Sonnen dropped to the ground with what was clearly a very tight guillotine, he showed again that if he has an opening, he knows how to plow through it.
What we learned about Shogun Rua
Honestly? Absolutely nothing. Before the fight, pundits expressed concern that Rua was even longer in fight mileage than his 31 years might suggest. Rua, said the concerned parties, was too shopworn, his takedown defense too mild, his grappling game too diminished, his striking too eroded to give Sonnen or any other top light heavy a run for his money.
At UFC Fight Night 26, all that was proven correct, at least until further notice.
What we learned about Chael Sonnen
That he's still capable of getting a big win. With his two losses to Anderson Silva and that laugher against Jon Jones, seeing Sonnen eat his trash talk was becoming a familiar post-fight tradition. But Saturday night, Sonnen showed he can still execute a game plan, which isn't a given (just ask Joe Lauzon or Uriah Hall). He may never hold a belt, but he has good fighting left in him.
What's next for Rua
How about the loser between Thiago Silva and Matt Hamill, who fight on October 9? Unless Hamill loses. That matchup would be too depressing.
What's next for Sonnen
It's clear he has set himself on a collision course with Wanderlei Silva. Time to move forward along that course and give both men what they appear to want.
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