Anderson Silva. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC.
There has never been a greater champion than Anderson Silva.
Silva surpassed Matt Hughes’ UFC title defense record of seven, successfully defending his UFC middleweight title for the eighth time with a highlight-reel front kick that stopped Vitor Belfort in his tracks in the main event of UFC 126 on Saturday.
“That’s just one of the strikes I was working on [during training],” Silva said of his finishing manuever. “I was focusing on many different types of strikes and attacks.
The bout started out slowly, with both fighters content to settle into an extended feeling-out process that took about three minutes. Belfort (19-9) attacked Silva (28-4) with a flurry, but “The Spider” fended it off before surprising Belfort with a front kick to the chin.
Belfort crashed to the canvas and Silva followed up with a couple more shots before referee Mario Yamasaki dove in and stopped the fight.
“I was waiting and doing my thing and I got caught,” Belfort said after the fight. “Anderson is a champion. He’s a great fighter. I promise I’ll be back and I’ll bring the fire again.”
Griffin Decisions Franklin; Jones Submits Bader
After over a year away from the cage, Forrest Griffin was victorious in his return, outpointing fellow former UFC champion Rich Franklin and notching an unanimous decision.
“It’s hard to come back after a year without people going at full speed in practice, let alone a southpaw who is quicker than me,” Griffin said. “Fortunately, I was able to get him down in the first round and grind him down a little bit and build up a little bit of a lead.”
Griffin (18-6) scored an early takedown against Franklin (28-6) in the first round and smothered him for nearly the full five minutes. Griffin dropped Franklin to a knee with an overhand right in the second before bringing the fight to the ground once again.
Franklin scored with a mix of kicks and punches in the third, but the effort wasn’t enough to prevent an unneeded loss in the ultra-competitive UFC light heavyweight division.
Jon Jones scored another impressive victory and a surprise title shot along with it, submitting unbeaten prospect Ryan Bader with a guillotine choke in the second round.
“Bones” had little trouble with his opponent, controlling Bader (12-1) from top position in the first round before bringing the fight to the mat again in a second and sinking a fight-ending choke.
Due to an injury suffered by training partner Rashad Evans, Jones (12-1) was surprised by UFC brass with a crack at UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, whom Jones will fight on short notice at UFC 128 in March.
“I feel so confident every time I come in here,” Jones said. “I feel like it’s my time. I’m hungry and I’m going for it. I want it. I’m going for a world title, baby. Let’s do it.”
Ellenberger Survives, Torres Cruises
Jake Ellenberger (23-5) got more than expected from UFC newcomer Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-1), who used brilliant jiu-jitsu techniques to nearly steal a win in his debut, which Ellenberger narrowly won on the judge’s scorecards via split decision.
Former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres (39-3) was a winner in his Octagon debut, using his reach advantage to pick apart Antonio Banuelos (18-7) en route to an easy unanimous decision victory.
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