ED Note: 1st Round knockout is my take on the most compelling MMA story of the day.
UFC 148’s main event did not disappoint. For sure, it was over-hyped, as some were calling it the most anticipated re-match in UFC history.
Sonnen vs Silva II wasn’t the greatest fight in UFC history but in terms of impact and importance it takes a backseat to none.
Anderson Silva isn’t just on Mount Rushmore, there is no argument that he is one of the top two MMA Fighters of all-time. The only argument I’ll hear is about Fedor Emelianenko. His career in Pride Fighting Championships was unmatched. Fedor had a 10 year run of dominance where he went undefeated. Fedor has defeated a lot of great fighters.
But last night was Silva’s night.
The Spider defeated his biggest nemesis on the biggest possible stage.
That’s what champions do.
He overcame a weak first round where he was taken down early and never got back to his feet. Sonnen took him to the ground and held him there, but it was short lived.
The second round displayed Silva’s dominant striking. Sonnen made a mistake. He was sloppy in his striking and he paid the price. After a precise knee to the gut, Silva finished Sonnen. He smelled blood in the water and attacked. Sonnen did not stand a chance.
If you told me the fight would end in a decision, I would bet on Sonnen. If you told me the fight was stopped early then Silva won.
It’s simple, Anderson Silva is the best fighter that the UFC has ever seen. He was not supposed to lose. Sonnen losing was almost fate.
Watching the highly anticipated rematch was like viewing a movie, a romantic comedy in fact. The good guy always gets the girl in the movies. He woos her from the clutches of the bad boy or evil rich guy with nothing more than love and a great personality.
That’s not real life all the time though.
Examples like this fight make you appreciate the unusual occasions when life takes you to the surreal. I can appreciate the good guy winning because it’s not always realistic.
In a perfect world, Silva defeats Sonnen. The world still isn’t perfect but sports took a step towards meritocracy.
Pre-fight Silva is a classy individual. Post-fight Silva is a classy individual. Silva encouraged Brazilian fans not to boo Sonnen after the loss. The Spider invited Silva to a barbecue at his place of his residence.
Sonnen played the role of bad guy. He was arrogant, insulting and over-hyped because of it. Silva is the opposite. He’s a great fighter and the Spider is humble.
The nice guy finished first this time.
Since their last meeting, Chael Sonnen has been the bane of Anderson Silva’s MMA existence.
The Oregon native gave Silva a run for his money. For six of the seven rounds, Sonnen has been a better fighter. But that does not matter. All that matters is the loss column.
Sonnen was a necessary evil. Without Sonnen, Silva’s resume is incomplete. Silva hadn’t snatched a victory away. He’d never been challenged before UFC 117. He looked bored in the Octagon at times. His matches were almost too easy. He made talented fighters look like flunkies.
But Sonnen changed that.
Sonnen wasn’t intimidated by the Brazilian’s pristine striking. He pushed forward, accepting the consequences. Sonnen took Silva to the ground. He genuinely didn’t respect the champion.
Sometimes, as a competitor, you need that challenge to bring out your best.
The rivalry between Sonnen and Silva has spawned nothing but positives for the UFC. It has garnered mainstream appeal like very few fights have. Perhaps Brock Lesnar’s second installment with Frank Mir was bigger in terms of interest, but that’s it. SportsCenter included the title bout in its loop. The ESPN Radio hosts proudly talked about the fight.
The American sports world was captivated.
Silva’s legacy was cemented. The UFC hit another level in popularity.
Though Sonnen did not win the bout, the entire fight community did.