Chael Sonnen made his return to professional MMA action after a three year absence at Bellator 170, where he was submitted in the first round by the now retired Tito Ortiz. Sonnen admitted that when the bell sounded, he was lost.
“Look, tonight is helpful for me,” Sonnen said at the post-fight presser. “I’ve been out for three years, and this was a long-term play for me. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I need to get those minutes in. I thought I did it in the practice room, and I had some deer in the headlights (moments) out there. After three years, it’s just the way that it goes. So I’ll be in the practice room on Monday, and I’ll use it to get better.”
Sonnen nearly caught Ortiz with a guillotine choke early in the fight, but bad positioning would cost him the possible submission.
“I wanted to get out there and get the experience. I fully expected to win this,” Sonnen said. “I had great coaches and a great camp, and I got caught in a position that I couldn’t get out of. I thought that a guillotine would be a good option. I worked on it a lot. Tito’s also had his neck bother him. He talked about that, I thought maybe that was a good opportunity, but I couldn’t get my leg on the right side. I had my hand where I wanted it, it just didn’t work out and he reversed it.”
Sonnen was a three time title challenger during his time in the UFC, coming up short in his two attempts at the middleweight title and his lone attempt at the light heavyweight title.
You can see Fightful's Bellator 170 coverage at this link.