Chael Sonnen works to get life, UFC career back on track

By Sergio Non

Super Bowl weekend should have been Chael Sonnen‘s moment in the Ultimate Fighting Championship spotlight.

Instead, middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva will face challenger Vitor Belfort on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view) in Las Vegas in the main event of UFC 126. But for a few weeks last summer, Feb. 5 had Sonnen marked as Silva’s opponent.

It would have been a rematch of their August fight at UFC 117 in Oakland, where Sonnen outclassed Silva for most of 4½ rounds.

Sonnen won most of the stand-up exchanges, took down Silva at will and chipped away at him on the mat.

With less than two minutes left in the fight, Sonnen looked well on his way to pulling off a stunning upset. But Silva suddenly slipped his legs around Sonnen’s neck and left shoulder for a triangle choke-armbar combination, and before the challenger even realized he was doing it, he had tapped once.

Despite the letdown at the end, UFC officials were impressed enough to grant Sonnen an immediate rematch at the promotion’s annual Super Bowl eve show. Then the test results came back from UFC 117.


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