Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky each man was at one point the face of his respective sport. They were (and still are) revered by countless fans for their greatness. In MMA, some would say UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jon Bones Jones has become the face of the sport. I believe one day (in the near future) he will be. For now, that honor belongs to UFC Middleweight champ Anderson The Spider Silva.
As part of UFC 153s main event, Silvas greatness was on full display this past weekend at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The main event was supposed to be a title fight with UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo facing Frankie Edgar (and before that Aldo vs Erik Koch), but injuries derailed those plans.
Silva agreed to fight Stephan Bonnar to ensure the UFC wouldnt be forced to cancel another event (as they did with UFC 151). Silva faced Bonnar at 205 lbs. (his second light heavyweight match in the past 3 years) in a non title bout. Silva would use all but 10 seconds of the first round to defeat Bonnar, and cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters to compete in the octagon.
No one (including myself) was surprised that Silva won, but the way he did was so unbelievable and amazing that it probably wont happen again. My pre fight opinion was that Bonnar had to keep Silva from moving, and use dirty boxing (or ground and pound) to even have a remote chance at victory.
As soon as the fight began, Bonnar did as expected. He tied Silva up and used dirty boxing to get some hits on the champ. The American Psycho even managed to pin Silva against to cage. Silva freed himself from Bonnars grasp, and then he did something Ive never seen in MMA before. Silva intentionally put himself against the cage, and invited Bonnar to attack him. Bonnar responded with a flurry of stiff jabs and elbows for a good portion of the opening round.
After a while, it became apparent Silva was toying Bonnar. Silva showed everyone Bonnars barrage had no ill effects on him, and then it happened. Silva again freed himself from Bonnar, but this time Silva was on the attack. Bonnar tried to separate himself from Anderson, and Bonnar got a knee to his chest (that stopped at his chin) instead. Bonnar collapsed to the mat like a house of cards, and after some punches from Silva the ref stopped the fight. Another man bested by The Spider.
With the win, Silva (33-4) has won his 16th consecutive bout (and his 14th finish) in the octagon (both UFC records). Silvas 16 wins also put him alongside GSP, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture for 2nd place on the UFC wins list.
Theres been talk that Silvas next opponent should be Jon Jones. Both fighters have made it clear that this is a fight they dont want. It should happen for two reasons: 1) MMA fans deserve to see this fight. 2) As wrestling legend Ric Flair once said, To be the man, youve gotta beat the man.
Other Notable Fights from UFC 153:
Minotauro Nogueira def. Dave Herman via submission (armbar) at 04:31 of Round 2.
Phil Davis def. Wagner Prado via submission (anaconda choke) at 04:29 of Round 2.
Demian Maia def. Rick Story via submission (rear naked choke) at 02:30 of Round 1.
Jon Fitch def. Erick via unanimous decision.