The fight starts, and immediately Fedor looks better on the feet, scoring a knockdown and looking to finish Werdum quickly. What happens next nearly caused the internet to implode. Instead of Fedor quickly finishing Werdum off with some ground and pound, Fedor found himself caught in a triangle/armbar that was applied too quick and sunk in too deep to escape. Fedor tapped once, and one of the biggest upsets in MMA history occurred.
Fast forward 6 weeks. Since Fedor lost to Werdum, Anderson Silva is the undisputed P4P best fighter in the world. His opponent, Chael Sonnen, is considered good for entertainment value pre-fight but not really considered a threat to Anderson Silva. The biggest fear coming into the fight was that Anderson would attempt to clown Chael like he has done to other challengers in the past. If that wasn't going to be the case, the most likely outcome would be Silva winning in spectacular fashion.
Well, Chael Sonnen was more than a sideshow act. In the first round, Chael landed the first real solid punch on Anderson during his UFC career and wobbled him. Chael then proceeded to take Anderson down and pound on him for four straight rounds. Anderson came out fierce every round, and in the 4th round looked like he had a chance at putting Chael to sleep, but then Chael got him down and did the same thing he had done the whole fight. Going into the fifth round, Chael was pitching a shutout. But with 2 minutes left in the fight, Anderson threw up a triangle attempt and got the patented Team Quest phantom tap, which ended the fight in spectacular fashion.
Both Fedor and Anderson were considered P4P greats, but both had completely different auras around them going into their fights. Fedor was seen as the durable champion, being in deep water numerous times, whether is was Randleman's suplex, Fujita's hook, or Nogueira's guard. But no matter what happened throughout a fight, Fedor would weather the storm and emerge victorious. He was loved so much because he had chinks in his armor, but no one ever found a way to pierce through it. Fedor relied on this in his fights, and it cost him. He got overzealous against Werdum, and Werdum made him pay.
On the other hand, there is Anderson Silva. Anderson had either destroyed or clowned everyone that the UFC put up against him. If there is a such thing as an "aura of invincibility," Anderson Silva had it going into UFC 117. Thought to be too quick, too skilled, too technically sound, Anderson Silva had the all around game and the confidence to show it off against anyone in the world. Then he fought Chael Sonnen. Chael mauled him for 4.5 rounds, something no one had ever seen before or ever expected. If Anderson were to lose, it would be like Fedor, getting caught and making a mistake, getting too cocky. Joe Rogan asked during the 5th round if it was too early for Chael to start celebrating. Most watching the fight would have agreed. We got through 4 rounds like this, why not 5. And then Anderson shocked the world, taking a page out of Fedor's book and pulling out the best come from behind win in a title fight in UFC history.
Two all time greats, two career changing fights, both ending with triangle chokes. Both champions will be perceived differently in the future. Fedor will no longer be the undefeated champion, no longer the man who can weather any storm. Anderson will no longer be viewed as untouchable. In a few short weeks, both went from being unable to be defeated to being human. GSP better take note.