Chael Sonnen made some eye-raising statements in the lead-up to his middleweight title eliminator against heavily favored Nate Marquardt. The Oregon-based wrestler backed up those claims Saturday with a dominant unanimous decision victory and pocketed a $60,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus to go with his title shot.
Sonnen used his superior wrestling ability to keep Marquardt on his back for the majority of the 15-minute affair. The betting underdog sped out to an early lead by controlling Marquardt and negating his perceived striking and submission advantages.
Despite scores of 30-27 across the board, Marquardt had his moments as well. In the second round, while dodging Sonnen’s ground-and-pound attack, Marquardt sliced a deep inch-long laceration in his opponent’s forehead. He also had a tight guillotine attempt before sweeping into top position and slugging away at a spent Sonnen in the bout’s closing seconds.
The matchup was the co-headliner for UFC 109, which featured Randy Couture’s win over Mark Coleman in the main event. The card drew a crowd of 10,687 to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for an estimated gate of $2.27 million.
Paulo Thiago fattened his wallet with a $60,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus for choking Mike Swick unconscious. Thiago planted Swick with a right hand counter before locking up a D’Arce choke for the finish at 1:54 of the second period.
Matt Serra clobbered Frank Trigg with a crushing right hand and finished him off with follow-up shots on the ground at 2:23 of the first round to earn “Knockout of the Night” honors. Serra also banked $60,000 for his efforts.