UFC 148 Silva-Sonnen II: The Aftermath
Make no mistake about it: Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter in MMA history. When you can amass a 15-fight winning streak that includes 10 consecutive title defenses, it doesn’t matter that there have been stretches in your UFC career where you’ve fought some unspectacular competition.
And yes, I know I argued otherwise last week. My good friend Sam Brown executed a great rope-a-dope strategy, drawing me into a debate, and then hitting me with the “Argue against Silva as The GOAT” side of things. Well played, Sir Samuel. Well played.
Here’s what cemented it for me last night: after spending 99% of the opening round on his back with Sonnen looking to advance positions, find a submission, and offering tepid offense, Silva calmly walked back to the corner, listened to their instructions, and capitalised on the first opening that was presented to him in the fight to earn the finish.
Those are the types of things that separates the very good from the great, and when Silva pounced the instant Sonnen slipped to the ground, I knew it was the beginning of the end.
This shouldn’t be too much of a “hang your head” moment for Chael Sonnen and he shouldn’t be getting a ton of grief from fight fans and critics either.
He did a tremendous job selling both halves of his feud with Silva, pushed him harder than anyone had in the past the first time around, and drew the best out of “The Spider” in the rematch as well.
Like everyone before him in the UFC – and the two guys between the first fight and this one – Sonnen came up short against the best fighter to ever grace the cage. No shame in that, at least not as far as I’m concerned.
- Tito Ortiz deserved a much better ending to his illustrious career than the one he was afforded on Saturday night by Forrest Griffin.
After going shot-for-shot for the third time together, Griffin fled the cage. Once he came back and was announced as the winner, he took over the post-fight interviewing duties from Joe Rogan.
In the end, instead of having a memorable send-off where one of the pioneers of the UFC was allowed to bask in the applause of the audience one last time, we got a horribly awkward moment that no amount of apologies can make up from the next day.
- Wasn’t overly impressed with Cung Le, but have to give the 40-year-old props for collecting the win at UFC 148. He did a solid job of fighting a more tactical contest against Patrick Cote, throwing fewer spinning, energy-expending strikes early, allowing him to have the gas to sweep the scorecards in the end.
I’m hesitant to see what comes next for Le, and expect to see him on the upcoming UFC event in Macau, though I don’t want to see him pushed too far up the ladder because of this win.
- Demian Maia at welterweight could be very interesting. I know the fight only lasted 40 seconds and it ended with a fluke injury, but I can’t remember anyone taking Dong Hyun Kim’s back and getting him to the ground like that in his UFC career. It’s no easy task, and Maia did it in a matter of seconds, landing in perfect position to transition into mount. Colour me intrigued.
- Everyone outside of Cody McKenzie’s inner circle knew his match-up with Chad Mendes was a huge mismatch, and the former featherweight title contender proved why Saturday. Mendes folded McKenzie over with a thunderous body shot right out of the gate, earning the stoppage in just 31 seconds.
It was the kind of performance Mendes needed here, and should remind everyone that forgot over the last six months that the Team Alpha Male standout is a force to be reckoned with in the 145-pound ranks.
- People are ripping the Mike Easton-Ivan Menjivar fight like it was the worst fight in UFC history. It wasn’t anything special, but you’d think that these two decide just stand on opposite sides of the cage from each other for the entire 15 minutes the way some people are talking.
Menjivar was trying to counter, Easton was trying to close the distance, and it just turned into an awkward, underwhelming contest. That shouldn’t mean these two get banished from the main card for eternity or branded as boring. It was one not-so-stellar fight. Ease up.
>Preliminary Card Quick Hitters
- Watching Melvin Guillard tempt fate by hanging out in out in the guard of Fabricio Camoes late in the first round had me yelling at the television. He made it out okay, and earned a much needed win, but Guillard still has little mental lapses that make you wonder if he’s every going to put it all together and make a real run at the lightweight title.
- Really not sure about the decision in the Khabib Nurmagomedov-Gleison Tibau fight. I had Tibau 30-27 on my at-home scorecard as he was the more effective striker of the two, scored a couple brief takedowns, and shut down much of the offense offered by the young Russian prospect.
Unfortunately, the judges scored in favour of the guy who kept coming forward winging wild punches, regardless of the fact that very few of them connected. Allow me to be the 1,367,948 person to say this: We need better judges.
- Costa Philippou shouldn’t have been allowed to continue after Riki Fukuda inadvertently poked him in the eye late in the third round. When you can’t see, you can’t fight, period.
The doctor shouldn’t be asking, “Can you see? Do you want to continue?” as every fighter in the history of fighting will say, “Yes” to both questions even though the first answer is likely a lie. Stand three feet in front of him, tell him to cover his “good eye,” and see if he can tell you how many fingers you’re holding up when you’re standing roughly where his opponent will likely be trying to attack him from. If he can, great, let’s keep going. If not, we’re done here.
- Getting really tired of listening to guys with bad takedown defense or defensive wrestling skills bitch about getting dominated by wrestlers. John Alessio, a guy I know and like a great deal, was chirping at Shane Roller in the closing minute of their fight while wearing Roller like a backpack, asking the former All-American wrestler if he wanted to fight him or lay on him. It’s tiring. This isn’t boxing or kickboxing.
Stop complaining, stop getting taken down, and learn how to get yourself back to where you want to be if you don’t want to have a wrestling riding you for 15 minutes.
Follow The Roar’s UFC Expert E. Spencer Kyte on Twitter (@spencerkyte).
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