Chael Sonnen booked his rematch with Anderson Silva this evening by outpointing Michael Bisping at UFC On FOX 2, but he had to work hard to get it.
Sonnen was able to take Bisping down immediately which seemed huge, but the Brit impressed by just as quickly getting back to his feet.
The wrestler was able to get him on his back again a little later in the round, but again couldn’t keep him there.
It was clear that Sonnen’s gameplan was largely based on his wrestling abilities though as he was also looking to clinch up with Bisping against the cage, but surprisingly it was the UK fighter who was often able to reverse him and keep him up against the fence.
Bisping was also getting the better of Sonnen in the stand-up exchanges with his crisp, clean and straight punches finding their mark more often than the American.
‘The Count’ showed his confidence in the way the stand-up was going in the closing stages of the round when he began to mix in a few spinning kicks into his offense.
Bisping again got the better of the clinch work in the early part of the second round as they tried to exchange short shots in close.
Sonnen broke up the action by taking Bisping down again and he managed to draw a little blood from below Bisping’s left eye with a strike.
He couldn’t keep him down though and Sonnen was starting to look a little tired as Bisping went back to locking him up against the cage in the clinch and landed some decent strikes at times without ever really hurting him significantly.
Sonnen looked to push the pace in the final round and secured a quick takedown to start the proceedings.
This time he managed to keep Bisping down and worked a little ground and pound.
Bisping looked to scramble back to his feet, but Sonnen pounced on an opening to take his back. Rolling onto his back he fished for a rear-naked choke, but Bisping defended.
Sonnen then managed to cleverly work himself into the full mount and landed some blows, but despite this dominant position he wasn’t able to get anywhere close to stopping the Brit and Bisping worked himself back to half guard as the clock began to run out.
All in all this was a very close fight, with only the third being clearly in favor of Sonnen, but who would the judges see it for?
In the end they were all convinced that Sonnen was the better man on the night, awarding him the unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2).
Personally I thought it was closer than that, but the takedowns for Sonnen and the big final round sealed it in his favor.
It wasn’t a spectacular showing from Sonnen by any means, but it’s good enough to get him the eagerily anticipated second shot at Anderson Silva’s 185lb title which will likely take place in Brazil in June.