My Facebook account sure picked up a variety of opinions regarding UFC 162 in general, and the end of Anderson Silva’s historic Middleweight Championship reign in particular, on Saturday night.
“Silva turned the fight into a circus. I have no respect for him.”
“LOL @ anyone calling anderson an idiot for fighting the way he did. Fair weather…”
“Odd world we live when a man is praised to bash another man’s face in, yet criticized when he taunts a man that cannot hit him.”
“I don’t mind a little showmanship, but what Anderson did was excessive. What the heck was he thinking?”
Wow. We agree that UFC 162 was a damned good night of fights – and a night to remember. After that… it seems things get murky.
The night started nicely enough. As predicted by Paul Garon, Cub Swanson got the better of Dennis Siver in what was mostly a memorable standup battle. Siver started well, and I was impressed by his improvement on the ground — including a nice guard pass and strong top control in round one. But the day belonged to Swanson, who scored a beautiful hip throw right into mount in round two and a nice assortment of punches later, en route to his fifth straight victory.
A slimmed down Mark Muñoz beat up Tim Boetsch in his greatest performance ever. The two combined for the night’s most dynamic groundwork; maybe oddly, as theirs was the only bout to not feature a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Muñoz was able to reverse Boetsch’s first takedown and mostly stay ahead of the “Barbarian,” but it was his viscous punching when taking top position that really made the difference. I can recall only two instances of nastier bodywork on the mat: Phil Baroni against Matt Lindland in their second bout at UFC 41 in 2003, and Don Frye against Mark Hall at UFC 10 all the way back in 1996. Both hurt to think about so I’ll call it a three-way tie.
I wanted to believe in Roger Gracie, and he had a promising first round, but as I thought, Tim Kennedy was too good. Gracie seems too small for 205, but maybe too big for 185, as he seemed drained following a drastic weight cut. It’s a tough one — in the future I’m sure MMA will develop a 195 lb class to his benefit. In the past, it wouldn’t have mattered — his jiu-jitsu alone would have been enough to dominate. Right now, he’s just looking stuck.
Frankie Edgar and Charles Oliveira had the fight I was hoping for. Sure, Edgar may have done just enough to win every round with his superior footwork and solid wrestling, but Oliveira kept every round entertaining and close with dynamic striking and slick ground work. Here’s hoping he will continue to improve.
And the main event? What’s there to say? No, we shouldn’t laugh and judge the man making the obvious mistake. But hopefully we can learn. I described Silva as being, sometimes, everything I love about MMA, and sometimes, none of them… on Saturday, his lack of respect finally came back to him. We saw moments of brilliance: as he deftly maneuvered from Weidman’s punching on his feet, or gracefully entangled a leg while on his back. But instead of rocketing back with a punch a la the Griffin fight, or setting up a sweep a la the Franklin bout, he stood recklessly… and was knocked senseless.
It’s sad seeing legends fall. But Silva seemed to fall down of his own doing, just as he came up on his own terms.
As always, Anderson Silva, and his legacy, remains unique.