One of the longest-standing rivalries in mixed martial arts finally came to a head on Saturday, and the result ultimately went into Chael Sonnen’s win column. Sonnen (29-15-1) earned a unanimous decision over Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1) in their long overdue grudge match. The light heavyweight fight, which was initially supposed to happen in 2014, headlined Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden. Two judges score the fight 30-27 for Sonnen, while the third judge scored it 30-26.

It was a vintage win for the 40-year-old Sonnen and his first since August 2013. He took Silva down relatively easily in all three rounds and roughed him up with punches from the top. Silva, who hadn’t fought at all since March 2013, did drop Sonnen in the opening round with a right hand and hurt him again in the second, but his inability to stop the takedown effectively removed any shot of his scoring the win.

Immediately after, Sonnen called out legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, who suffered a knockout loss to Matt Mitrione earlier in the night. Sonnen was much less animated at the postfight news conference, saying, “I respect Fedor, and I think he and I’s paths are going to cross sooner rather than later.” It was a far better performance for Sonnen than his last time out, when he suffered a submission loss to Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170.

Although Silva did get the better of nearly every exchange when the fight stayed on the feet, Sonnen’s pressure quickly emptied Silva’s tank. Fighting out of West Linn, Oregon, Sonnen had to fight off a couple guillotine attempts by Silva, but none appeared too close to ending the fight. The matchup was actually first booked in the UFC. Sonnen and Silva squared off as opposing coaches on the UFC’s reality series in 2014 and were scheduled to fight in July. The fight fell apart, however, when both received suspensions in Nevada for doping-related offenses.

Sonnen is now officially 2-4 in his past six fights. He shot into mainstream recognition in 2010, behind a rivalry with then-UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. He announced his retirement in 2014 after he accepted a two-year suspension but elected to sign with Bellator in 2016. Wanderlei Silva, who lives and trains in Brazil, suffered his first loss since he dropped a five-round decision to Rich Franklin in June 2012.

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