TUF Brazil Sonnen vs. Silva final episode recap: The Ballad Of Team Chael

By Steve Juon, Wrestling Observer

Team Sonnen is singing the praises of Eric Albarracin's wrestling drills. Team Silva is practicing their stand-up and transitions to ground and pound off takedowns. Demente vows that he won't be beaten by any man. "Anything can happen and I'm ready for it." And just like that it's time for the final middleweight semi-final. Marcio 'Lyoto' Alexandre Jr. is 184 and Ricardo 'Demente' Abreu is 184. The fight's official!

* Middleweight: 'Demente' Abreu (Team Silva) vs. 'Lyoto' Junior (Team Sonnen)

As always the Team Sonnen fighter is in green - that being 'Lyoto', and the Team Silva fighter is in yellow - that being 'Demente'. One of our fights is going long today because we're only 8 minutes into a 55 minute episode. Lyoto is outstriking Demente at every turn in R1 and Demente has to go for takedowns and foot stomps to try and slow him down. He even gets warned for grabbing the cage.

A minute into R2 and you can see that Demente's face is a mess while Lyoto looks relatively unscathed. Lyoto is also punishing Demente with leg kicks. Demente hits an accidental knee to the groin and gets the break he probably needed. In fact he turns it up with the striking after the restart. Lyoto is getting caught with shots. This is going to a third presumably tied 1-all, although it's not a "sudden victory" round - the semi-finals are scheduled for 3 rounds.

Demente seems to have momentum on his side in the first round of R3 - Lyoto is sucking wind hard. With every step he seems to be struggling - it's like he's climbing a mountain. Demente is exhausted too but still has more pop in his punches. The knees and rights have Lyoto hurt and he tries to run away. Demente goes for the takedown but can't get it and they get separated. I've got Demente 29-28.

LYOTO ADVANCES TO THE TUF BRAZIL 3 FINALE BY SPLIT DECISION. TEAM SONNEN IS ELATED. TEAM SILVA IS STUNNED. Demente is crying. Silva gives him a hug and says you're a great fighter and an example to everyone. I'm surprised he didn't advance but the fact it was a split decision means at least one judge thought he won.

At Team Silva's training Rick Monstro vows to take Vitor Miranda down and submit him. At Team Sonnen's session Miranda says his takedown defense is well prepared and his dream won't end here. Our final set of heavyweights step on the scale. MONSTRO IS 227 and MIRANDA IS 226. Here we go!

* Heavyweight: Vitor Miranda (Team Sonnen) vs. Richardson 'Monstro' Moreira (Team Silva)

Green trunks for Da Bad Guys, and yellow as always for Monstro from Team Silva. Monstro bloodies Miranda's nose and it's spraying everywhere in the first 90 seconds. It seems to have woken him up though because before the halfway point it's a slugfest and Monstro has to go for a takedown to tie him up. Monstro starts getting the better of it again but he punches so wildly you can see visually see him gas out, at which point Miranda knocks him down with a knee. Now Monstro is bleeding too and worse than Miranda. He gets pummeled by ground and pound. I give a wild R1 to Miranda 10-9.

MIRANDA GETS THE TKO 33 SECONDS INTO R2. Sonnen loves the fight and praises it highly on the recap, as does Silva. Conditioning made the difference and Silva admits as much. He says once Miranda rocked him and took him down to open R2 it was a wrap. THREE OUT OF FOUR FINALISTS ARE FROM TEAM SONNEN.

Post-fight, Chael Sonnen admits he's impressed by how all the Brazilian fighters support each other, even if they're on opposite teams. Isabel and Hortencia give their post-season speech to the teams and admit they've learned so much from the fighters. The finalists are flown to the Vegas and given a deluxe suite at The Venetian then taken to Ka for a behind the scenes tour.

After seeing the sites and visiting the shops and restaurants of Vegas, they sit down for dinner with Dana White. He puts out quite a spread for them - wine, fresh seafood, the works. He takes them to the UFC gym in Vegas for one last squareoff for the cameras.

Coming up Saturday live from Sao Paolo it will be WARLLEY VS. LYOTO at middleweight in an all Sonnen finale and at heavyweight CARA DE SAPATO VS. VITOR MIRANDA with CDS being Team Silva's only chance for success. Given what happened yesterday with Silva pulling out of the Sonnen fight, it should be an interesting night.

We'll see you then!

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