When Anderson Silva returned to his corner after the first round of the UFC 148 main event, facing his arch-rival Chael Sonnen, one of his seconds said: “You’re going to start now! You’ve warmed up! He doesn’t have a chance of beating you.”
The remark referred to the course the fight had taken until then, when Chael took him down and completely dominated for the entire round, even mounting Anderson nearing the break, but without time to do any greater damage.
The corner also told Anderson he couldn’t let Sonnen take him down again: “You trained that takedown defense a lot. You can’t let him take you down again. Defend it!”
And that’s just what the greatest MMA fighter of present times (and perhaps the best of all times) did. Sonnen again tried for the takedown, but this time Anderson deftly warded him off, and all the American could do was press him up against the fencing.
So at a point where the two fighters separated, Anderson went on the attack and landed the first big punch of the bout. Stunned, Sonnen tried for a spinning elbow but fell prey to a move from Anderson so precise that it dropped him to the ground already out of sorts. And the most impressive part is that Anderson’s move was a sensational dodge, so quick that Chael crashed violently into the cage.
From that point on, the fight was as good as over. Anderson met a seated Sonnen with a knee to the midsection, and when his opponent got up he put a hand on his throat and teed off with fists. Sonnen again crumbled to the ground, and Spider followed him down.
The Brazilians were nonplussed the the referee stopped the fight so quickly, upon seeing Sonnen reactionless in fetal position against the cage. Even so, Anderson’s compatriots erupted, filling the Las Vegas’ MGM Arena with applause.
His belt again safe, following his tenth title defense in six years, Anderson Silva relaxed: “This is a sport. He disrespected me, disrespected my country and family, but I fight him and have nothing against him. We showed that Brazilians are well-mannered and we’re going to applaud Sonnen,” said Anderson over the mic.
Still wanting to get his kicks, though, he called Sonnen to center octagon and spoke to him in Portuguese: “I’m inviting you to a barbecue at my house. My wife will cook for us,” reminding the American of his having said he’d slap Anderson’s wife on the back side.
After which he addressed the storm he weathered in the first round, “He’s been training those takedowns his whole life. Props to him,” adding some Brazilian clichés from the current mainstream MMA media, “They never will be! This is Brazil, and you’ll see that no son of yours will ever duck a fight.”
At the press conference the subject of round one reemerged: “Our strategy was to let him do his game early on, neutralize him and then let our game go. That’s what we did.”
Met with boos, Chael looked nothing like the smack talker from before the fight: “I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me. He’s a true champion.”
In the second most important fight of the evening, Tito Ortiz wrapped up his 15-year career with a spirited battle against Forrest Griffin. The Californian, who made his debut back in 1997 at UFC 13, fought like it was his first time in the cage and gave the fans the show they hoped to see. At the end of the 15 regulation minutes, the judges awarded the win to Griffin, but that was of least importance. Tito summed up the feeling: “I gave it my all, today and throughout my career. I love the sport and I’m leaving without any remorse. I fought with my heart, as always!” Asked whether there was any chance of his returning to MMA, he was frank: “I don’t think so. I did everything I wanted to do in this sport and managed to provide for my family. When I started, I had nothing, and today my kids have everything.”
Demian Maia made his welterweight debut with a flash win over Korea’s Dong Hyun Kim by countering a throw with a takedown of his own that inflicted enough pain on his adversary that it forced him to give up. The Brazilian spoke of the triumph: “I’m really happy with this win. I almost gave up with that takedown attempt, but in the end it all worked out. I managed to bring my Jiu-Jitsu back to MMA.”
Prior to Maia’s fight, Fabricio Morango dropped a unanimous decision to Melvin Guillard. “I messed up in letting it go the judges,” said Morango in analysis.
Check out the complete results from the night.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA
July 7, 2012
Anderson Silva defeated Chael Sonnen via TKO at 1:34 min of R2;
Forrest Griffin defeated Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision;
Cung Le defeated Patrick Côté via unanimous decision;
Demian Maia defeated Dong Hyun Kim via TKO at 0.47 min of 1R;
Chad Mendes defeated Cody McKenzie via TKO at 0.31 minutes of R1;
Mike Easton defeated Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision;
Melvin Guillard defeated Fabrício “Morango” Camões via unanimous decision;
Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Gleison Tibau via unanimous decision;
Costa Philippou defeated Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision;
Shane Roller defeated John Alessio via unanimous decision;
Rafaello Oliveira defeated Yoislandy Izquierdo via unanimous decision;