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UFC 148 live blog: Anderson Silva ends Chael Sonnen rivalry emphatically

Forrest Griffin takes two of three rounds to defeat Tito Ortiz

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Sam Morris

Champion Anderson Silva smiles while Chael Sonnen is attended to after Silva scored a second round TKO during their fight at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012.

Updated Saturday, July 7, 2012 | 10:17 p.m.

UFC 148: Undercards

John Alessio gets tied up by Shane Roller during their preliminary bout at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Roller won by decision. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148

Champion Anderson Silva smiles while Chael Sonnen is attended to after Silva scored a second round TKO during their fight at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148: Griffin vs. Ortiz

Forrest Griffin nails Tito Ortiz with a left during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Griffin won a unanimous decision in what was Ortiz's retirement fight. Launch slideshow »

UFC 148: Le vs. Cote

Cung Le reacts as he is announced the winner over Patrick Cote during their middleweight bout at UFC 148 Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Le won by unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

Note: Full results from the preliminary card available at the bottom of the page.

The greatest fighter in the UFC has a new greatest moment after Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Anderson Silva stayed undefeated in the octagon, winning his 15th straight and notching a victory that had to feel more satisfying than any of the other ones to defend his middleweight championship belt. Silva defeated rival Chael Sonnen 1 minute, 55 seconds into the second round with a TKO in the UFC 148 main event.

"He's a true champion, man," Sonnen said while still in the octagon.

If only for a split second, the sold-out crowd stood silent at that suggestion. It was Sonnen who had insulted Silva in every way possible over the past two years, making this bout into the biggest in UFC history and instilling the champion with a hatred no one had ever heard before.

Silva didn't break any of Sonnen's limbs as advertised, but he did manage to destroy the brash 185-pound wrestler with a barrage of strikes that included two right hands and a devastating knee to the body.

"Chael disrespects my country, but it's fine," Silva said. "This is a sport. This is the UFC."

With that, Silva wrapped his left arm around Sonnen's shoulder and attempted to end a feud that has captivated the sports world. He even invited Sonnen to a barbecue at his house, though that was likely a back-handed crack at the challenger who had turned his trash talk personal when he said he wanted to pat Silva's wife "on the (butt)" and tell her "to make me a steak, medium rare just how I like it,” on a radio show months ago.

The fight went Sonnen's way early. Just like their first fight, Sonnen managed to take Silva to the ground immediately. He threw ground-and-pound and smothered the Brazilian for the opening five minutes of the fight.

But Sonnen couldn't convert on a takedown to start the second round and Silva got the space he needed to operate. A right-hand dropped Sonnen and Silva then showed his killer instinct, rushing in to strike until it was impossible for the referee to let the bout go any longer.

"They gave me the opportunity," Sonnen said. "No one owes me anything. I'm very grateful to be here and have the chance."

The co-main event also delivered a conclusion to a long-running rivalry. Local fighter Forrest Griffin won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Tito Ortiz for the second time in four years.

Ortiz knocked Griffin down in both the second and third rounds, but it wasn't enough as he faded late in each of the frames with Griffin coming on strong.

"I'm going to be linked to Tito forever," Griffin said. "We have had three really close fights. He was throwing the kitchen sink at me and I was too tired to get out of the way. It always comes down to fatigue. I don't know who won that fight to be honest. I'm going to need to watch that back."

Cung Le, Demian Maia, Chad Mendes and Mike Easton also thrilled with victories on the main card. Check below to read a round-by-round blog of the main card and scroll to the bottom for preliminary results. Come back to lasvegassun.com later for full coverage out of UFC 148.

Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

Second Round Silva tries to stay elusive, but it takes Sonnen only 12 seconds to clinch up against the cage. Sonnen knees Silva in the rib cage. And again and again. The Brazilians are booing, but this is the way Sonnen has to win. It's a mirror image of the first fight so far as Sonnen is dominating, but the difference is he can't take Silva down in the second. The champion breaks out and hits Sonnen with a right hand that stuns him. He does it again backing up 20 seconds later. Sonnen shoots for a takedown, but it's not there. Silva bashes Sonnen with a right hand. Sonnen falls over and Silva keeps pouring on the punishment. But among the strikes are an illegal knee to the downed Sonnen. The referee never gives him a chance to recover and Silva keeps his pace to finish Sonnen. Replay reveals the knee landed on Sonnen's chest, making it a legal strike. Anderson Silva defeats Chael Sonnen by TKO at 1:55 of the second round.

First Round Sonnen runs forward and Silva swings wildly. But it doesn't go his way to start as Sonnen throws him on his back much like the first fight. Silva tries to control his head, but Sonnen breaks out for some ground-and-pound. One big left hand makes Silva jump from his back. Sonnen passes and is nearly in side control. He's mixing ground-and-pound shots to the head and body. This is going perfectly for Sonnen so far, but Silva is also controlling him enough not to take too much damage. Sonnen is in Silva's half-guard and this place is wild. "Brazil" chants overtake "USA" and then it goes the other way. Repeat. Sonnen doesn't have use of his hands, but he's kneeing Silva to the side. He's now slapping the champion to the side of the head. The crowd sounds split straight down the middle. Silva locks in a triangle choke, but Sonnen isn't careless this time. He's out in a wink. Here's more ground-and-pound from Sonnen with two minutes to go. There's no offense available for Silva. He's looking for an arm bar and complains that one of Sonnen's elbows hit him in the back of the head. No one else saw it, though. Sonnen goes into full mount and he's blasting Silva with elbows. Now he thrusts his chest into the champion's face. Silva is smothered. Sonnen dominated, but didn't get enough damage for a 10-8. The challenger wins the first round 10-9.

Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz

Third Round Ortiz continues to look gassed as Griffin weaves in and out at will. He lands a handful of strikes within the first 40 seconds, but the best is an uppercut that sends Ortiz's head spiraling back. Ortiz winds up and throws a left hook that drops Griffin. The crowd goes wild as Griffin pops up and runs forward. Ortiz takes Griffin down. He's in his guard throwing elbows. Ortiz tries to transition to mount momentarily, but Griffin gets his foe back in the guard. Griffin is trying to slide his way to the fence and isn't letting Ortiz pass. Griffin could feel like he's got the fight won, but each of the first two rounds were close. Griffin tries to grab a hold of Ortiz's arm for a submission, but the veteran isn't having it. Griffin wall-walks without much resistance from Ortiz. Griffin throws a knee to Ortiz's body and he grimaces. They're out now and Griffin is punching Ortiz repeatedly. Does "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" have enough left? They're back in the center and Ortiz tags Griffin with a left hand. Griffin comes forward with a combination and leg kick. Ortiz tries to counter another one, but any quickness is gone. Crowd goes wild with 10 seconds left as both fighters throw everything they have. It's close either way, but Las Vegas Sun sides with Ortiz 29-28. Forrest Griffin defeats Tito Ortiz by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Second Round Griffin meets Ortiz in the middle with a right hand. But Ortiz comes back to rock Griffin seconds later with a right hand. He follows with a knee and Ortiz stumbles back. "Tito" chants begin as Ortiz swings away in an attempt to finish. But Griffin clinches up and pushes Ortiz against the fence for a solid 20 seconds to recover. They're back in the middle now and Griffin tags Ortiz with a straight right. Left cross from Ortiz answers. Ortiz is also checking some of Griffin's kicks now. The power on Griffin's punches seems to have gone away, but he continues to land. Ortiz says something to Griffin, who lands two of his best shots of the fight with a kick to the body and a right hand. Ortiz tags Griffin with an uppercut. But Griffin is getting the best of it late in the round, much like the first. Ortiz has slowed down and Griffin's volume is strong. Griffin lands a one-two combination near the one-minute mark. He goes up top for a head kick, but Ortiz backs up just in time. The crowd gasps from the near-miss. Ortiz has nothing behind his punches. He's gassed. Griffin is circling and feeding jabs and left hooks. They're still standing in the middle when Ortiz shoots for a takedown, but Griffin sprawls and hits Ortiz in the head repeatedly. Ortiz was strong enough at the start to take a 10-9 round. It's all even headed into the final frame.

First Round No touch of the gloves between the two rivals as the crowd begins chanting "Tito." Griffin lands first, however, with a right hand kick across the chest. The crowd has changed their minds and are now chanting "Forrest." Griffin throws another kick, but Ortiz catches it and deposits him on his back. Griffin is flailing, but Ortiz lands a big elbow at the first opportunity. Ortiz passes to half guard. Griffin sees space and fights his way to his feet. Griffin kicks him to the body and follows with a left hand. Ortiz counters with similar power. Griffin is winning on the feet, though. Griffin circles and hits Ortiz with another combination. Speed is clearly in his favor. Ortiz takes a deep breath and comes forward, but Griffin wins from close range. Ortiz shoots for a takedown, but Griffin sprawls and brawls. Griffin clinches up with Ortiz and tosses him into the cage. Spit drains out of Ortiz's mouth, he looks exhausted. Ortiz counters one Griffin advance, but he hasn't had much offense since the takedown and ground-and-pound. Griffin throws a Superman punch that misses, but lands two consecutive leg kicks a little later. Ortiz gets a single-leg takedown to end the round, but it's probably not enough. Griffin's striking gives him a 10-9 score to start.

Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote

Third Round Cote takes a kick to the stomach from Le to get the round started. Cote rushes in and hits Le with three straight punches. The Canadian is finding success when he closes the distance, but he's not doing it enough. Cote pushes Le against the fence and they are in the clinch. Cote throws a couple knees to Le's body and connects with a spinning elbow. They break out and Le looks for a spinning attack. There's urgency in the way Cote pushes forward and throws a right hand into Le's chin. A spinning back kick from Le looks pretty, but ultimately comes up short as Cote backs up. He charges forward afterward and presses Le against the fence. More Muay Thai knees against the fence land for Cote. He's hitting to the side when Le trips Cote to the ground. The takedown doesn't last as Cote bounces back up. He tries to take Le down but the single-leg takedown isn't there. A left hand from Le scores some points. Cote lands a combination that makes Le a tad wobbly. Maybe not, as Le counters and throws Cote on his back a few seconds later. Le is in Cote's guard and he should be able to ride out the last 30 seconds to earn a victory. Le wins all three rounds on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Cung Le defeats Patrick Cote by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Second Round Cote throws a left hand, but Le backs him up with more kicks. Cote's corner may have told him to be more aggressive in this round as he's the one pushing the action. Le lands a scissor kick that the crowd loves. But Cote shakes it off and throws a nice combination, highlighted by an uppercut. They lock up in the middle of the cage, but break out after a few seconds and Cote sends a parting shot. Cote has a cut on the left side of his face and it's bleeding profusely. Some of the blood has spattered on Le's face. Le looks for a spinning back kick, but Cote gets out of the way. He's not so fortunate on second attempt. Cote is landing more punches, but Le's kicks are making more of a statement. Le goes to the body and follows with a right hook. He's breathing hard, however, and could be gassing. Le pushes forward and lands some shots of his own. The crowd is enthusiastic as he mounts a comeback to make the round close. Le combines one of his kicks to the body with a right hand. Le now throws a knee. Things are back to not going Cote's way when he gets inside and stuns Le with an uppercut. Le clinches Cote up against the fence. Cote tries to reverse, but Le appears stronger. He throws an uppercut as they break out. Close round, but Le takes another 10-9 to lead 20-18.

First Round Cote kicks Le's stomach but it was ill-advised. Le catches his leg and throws him on the ground. He lets Cote get right back up. Of course he does. These guys both want to strike. Cote throws a leg kick for his first strike. Le is coming forward, landing one of his kicks followed by a right hand. Cote gets going now, working his jab and throwing a combination that lands with some power. Le counters another one of Cote's advances with a kick to the chin. Le is loosening up as he throws another kick, but Cote blocks it. Cote is checking most of Le's kicks. A right hook from Cote freezes Le for a second. He's got Le on his heels with a combination and shoots for a takedown. But Le isn't allowing that. An uppercut from Cote grazes Le's chin. Le kicks Cote to the body and rocks him with a right hook. Cote complains it was to the back of the head. Le lands another shot to Cote's chin. Cote comes forward and Le counters him with a hook. A hard kick from Le freezes the stalking Cote. The crowd begins to chant "Cung Le" as he looks for an up kick. It misses, but he's keeping his distance from Cote. Round ends without much action in the final 20 seconds. Le wins the first round, 10-9.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia

First Round Maia shoots for a takedown within seconds. It catches Kim off guard, but he uses the cage to keep his balance. Maia throws in a hook as he wraps himself around Kim's back. This is not a good position for "Stun Gun" early. Maia tosses Kim on his head and he's out. Maia stops hitting him before the referee can even jump in. Demian Maia knocks out Dong Hyun Kim in 47 seconds.

Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie

First Round No touch of the gloves as the two promised they wouldn't do. They start swinging at each other from the opening bell. Mendes throws McKenzie on his back after catching a kick and lands three consecutive right hands. The referee jumps in to stop it. The first finish of the night comes in the second pay-per-view bout. Mendes knocks out McKenzie at 0:31 of the first round.

Ivan Menjivar vs. Mike Easton

Third Round Boos continue, but Easton sends Menjivar back with multiple punches to open the round. He's also working his low kicks. The problem is neither fighter seems to be landing with any power. Menjivar is getting his blows in this round, too, but Easton is higher on the volume. Easton lands a jab and moves his head to evade a Menjivar counter. That's representative of the fight so far. Menjivar kicks Easton back with a foot to the stomach. Easton rips a hook across the body. Menjivar looks for his famous spinning back fist, but Easton ducks and gets away. At the midway point of the round, Easton dumps Menjivar on his back. He's throwing ground-and-pound to stay busy. Menjivar wants to wall-walk, but Easton pulls him back. An elbow lands cleanly, before Menjivar pushes Easton off and gets back to his feet. He's way behind now, though. Easton is talking to Menjivar in the middle of the octagon. Easton hits Menjivar with about 10 strikes before he's answered. Menjivar goes for another desperate spinning back fist. Easton isn't hurting him, but he's beating him. Easton growls in frustration as Menjivar backpedals away from a combination. Easton throws a wild kick and lands on his back, coming up empty. It doesn't matter. Bell rings and this is all Easton, 30-27, on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Mike Easton defeats Ivan Menjivar by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Second Round A somewhat wild exchange opens the second frame, pausing the boos after a first round that was without many fireworks. Easton clinches up with Menjivar but has to retreat after a right hand lands on his temple. Easton takes the center of the octagon, but Menjivar seems to be finding some rhythm with his counters. His punches also sound louder, as he unleashes a powerful left hand. Action is slowed once again and the crowd is restless. Easton tracks Menjivar down for a combination. Menjivar is using a kick to Easton's body to keep his distance. A left hand is good for Easton. Five seconds are passing between any strikes and the crowd doesn't like it. Menjivar catches one of Easton's kicks but pays for it with a jab across the chin. Easton moving forward now and Menjivar is tentative to engage. Easton looks for a highlight-reel kick to the side of the head, but it's way off. Menjivar lands a combination with authority. But "The Pride of El Salvador" is still backing up. Easton sends him stumbling faster with a right hand. Menjivar lands a hard shot to Easton's body, but the fighter looks unaffected. In a fight this close, the points go to the competitor moving forward. Easton leads 20-18.

First Round Easton is staying bouncy on his feet, throwing a couple jabs when the opportunity presents itself. Menjivar engages for the first time with an inside leg kick. He throws a right hand at the minute mark. Menjivar tries a spinning attack, but Easton ducks under so it doesn't land. They're exchanging now, with neither fighter landing with much force. A combination from Easton sends Menjivar back, nearly crashing into the fence. Easton is keeping the pressure on as the midway point of the round passes. Easton goes to the body. Menjivar kicks and grazes Easton's stomach. Easton responds with a head kick that rocks Menjivar. It's turning straight kickboxing now, as Menjivar and Easton take turns throwing their leg strikes. One from Menjivar nearly trips Easton as it lands right on the ankle. Easton continues to move forward and throws a combination that gets Menjivar circling. Menjivar's thigh reddens as Easton lands another kick across it. Menjivar's turn, as a kick to the body momentarily halts Easton aggressiveness. A Superman punch from Easton and an overhand left from Menjivar land near the end of the round. Easton also shoots for a takedown. Easton rakes the first, 10-9.

In the same vein as Babe Ruth nearly a century ago, Chael Sonnen is calling his shot.

UFC 148 week wouldn’t have felt complete without one final gloat from the man who has taken talking trash and promoting fights to a new level since his rivalry with Anderson Silva began years ago. Sonnen provided exactly that in his last meeting with the media before tonight’s main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“I’m walking to the mound and pointing where I’m going to put the ball,” Sonnen said. “This will not be a competitive fight. I have no equal in this division. I have no equal in this sport.”

The first fight between Silva and Sonnen certainly wasn’t close, at least not for 23 minutes. Sonnen beat Silva down in a fashion no one in the UFC had before or has done after.

Silva, of course, won anyway by choking out Sonnen with a triangle in the fifth round. Sonnen’s refusal to admit he lost, as well as personal attacks on Silva’s family and country, has the UFC’s middleweight champion fuming.

Silva has shown an angry side for the first time leading up to the Sonnen grudge match. It’s even rumored he whispered, “you’re going to die,” in Sonnen’s ear when the two posed for a stare down at a press conference.

“He’s not a fighter, he’s a donkey but that’s OK,” Silva said in a video at yesterday’s weigh-in. “I punch the face of a donkey.”

It was Sonnen, however, who landed a record number of strikes in the two’s UFC 117 encounter. Silva contends it doesn’t matter because Sonnen ultimately lost and often brings up that he suffered from a broken rib that had doctors telling him to pull out of the fight.

Forecasting how all of these scenarios would play into the rematch was one of the most fun parts of the long build-up to the fight. Now it’s time to find out what happens.

Silva and Sonnen should walk to the octagon in front of the packed crowd in less than two hours. Five other fights will proceed the event popularly referred to as “the biggest fight in UFC history”.

Two former light heavyweight champions, Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz, complete a trilogy in the co-main event. The odds are heavily in Griffin’s favor, but Ortiz has beaten him once and came close when they last fought in 2008.

Cung Le and Patrick Cote are expected to stay standing and strike in a middleweight bout that could make up for its lack of relevance with excitement. Out of the three openers, the first bout between bantamweights Mike Easton and Ivan Menjivar projects as the best.

It’s a Fight of the Night contender between two fighters looking to break into the top of the division.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for a round-by-round coverage of the live blog and look below for full results from the preliminary card.

A potential Fight of the Night closed out the preliminary card as Melvin Guillard and Fabricio Camoes each came close to finishing one another throughout three rounds. But Guillard was able to consistently put Camoes in trouble with his strikes and it paid off. Guillard defeated Camoes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in the lightweight bout.

Expect debate over the scoring following a lightweight bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Gleison Tibau. The fight seemed incredibly close, but every judge awarded every round to Nurmagomedov to earn the undefeated Russian fighter a unanimous-decision victory over Tibau.

Costa Philippou defeated Riki Fukuda by unanimous decision in their middleweight bout. Philippou took eight of a possible nine rounds combined on the three judges' scorecards, memorably winning the final frame despite an inadvertent eye gouge and groin kick. The illegal blows angered Philippou, who immediately yelled and push forward while swinging away after Fukuda's foot landed below the belt.

Shane Roller snapped a three-fight losing streak by getting back to his roots as a strong grappler. Roller defeated John Alessio by unanimous decision — winning the second and third rounds on every scorecard — in their lightweight scrap.

Rafaello Oliveira defeated Yosilandy Izquierdo by unanimous decision in a lightweight bout to open the card. Izquierdo rocked Oliveira multiple times on the feet, but the Brazilian was able to take the Cuban down and dominate the portions of the fight spent on the ground.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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