Vindication. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE)
Love him or hate him, Chael Sonnen did what few other men in the sport have been able to accomplish: he made you believe he could take out Anderson Silva. Whether it was his pre-fight promises to dump the champion on his ‘prissy little ass’ or the ease with which he did so in the opening round, for the first time in a long time you doubted Silva’s invincibility. In a time when injuries and injunctions have quashed the UFC’s most emotionally-charged and meaningful fights, ‘The American Gangster’ would not shut his mouth until you were convinced that his fight mattered. To be fair, he never shut his mouth; it was shut for him.
For those who think he’s bad for the sport, you should have checked your pulse when he worked his way to mount. It raced. You should check the ticket sales for this event. It’s a new US record. You should think back to so many of Anderson’s other battles marred by inaction in the cage and indifference in the champ. They sucked. You don’t have to root for the bad guy, but someone has to lose these fights, and it may as well be a loud-mouthed son of a bitch who refers to himself in the third person.
Anderson may not be flying home with the pocket full of Sonnen’s teeth that he desired, but he will be toting an extra twelve pounds of gold. Though he may be slightly disappointed, he’ll have a much easier time getting through airport security.
Seconds into his rematch with Chael, “The Spider” found himself in a familiar spot. The champ spent much of his first fight with Sonnen on his back getting walloped, and the first round last night was no different. A survivor of war-torn West Linn, Sonnen showed no fear as he brought the fight to Silva right from the opening bell, but as he learned in their first encounter it’s how you finish that matters most, and once again Chael came in second place in an ass-kicking contest.
You can point to vaseline or shorts-grabbing or ‘illegal’ knees–and you will–but right now Silva is the best in the world. He has been for a long time, and he will continue to be so until someone takes him out. Who could possibly do it? I have no clue. Silva is so far ahead of the rest of the pack that none of his potential opponents seem credible, and it’s tough to get excited for a title fight when you don’t believe that the challenger can do the unthinkable. I was excited for this fight. Thanks again, Chael.
Silva’s victory sets two UFC records—most consecutive title defenses (10) and most consecutive wins (15). His $75k “Knockout of the Night” check puts him one bonus shy of tying Chris Lytle‘s record 10 UFC Performance Bonuses.