I suppose the most important thing to get out of the way in the immediate wake of UFC 148 is the simple fact that Anderson Silva is, without a doubt, the best fighter in the history of the UFC (and probably MMA as a whole). He survived a bad first round tonight where Chael Sonnen walked forward, took him down, beat on him and even passed to full mount, only to come back in the second, defend the takedowns and finish Chael at the first opportunity.
It was an important moment for Anderson and a definitive conclusion for the long-standing Silva/Sonnen rivalry.
But it also felt kind of weird, didn't it? Not Silva's performance, once we got clarification that the knee was legal that was all good, but rather the show as a whole.
A card that I thought looked to be pretty fantastic on paper turned into a boring show that was a bit of a chore to sit through most of the night. Then, in a moment that was either bizarre or brilliant, Silva finishes off the "feud" with an invite for a BBQ and some classic post-fight "we did a show for the fans." For the "biggest night in UFC history" it felt a little...odd.
Let's take a quick look at the action from tonight:
- What is there for Sonnen now? There's no reason for a third fight but he's still a very good fighter who can beat most middleweights in the world. I assume he's going to go into that Jon Fitch limbo where you just don't get a title shot until eventually you lose a few times and your relevance fades.
- I don't really know what else Silva has to do. He could go up in weight, but that's pretty risky or he can hang out and fight the Bispings of the world. One seems too high risk, the other seems too low risk.
- Forrest Griffin is slowly destroying whatever goodwill was left for him. I thought the Griffin/Tito Ortiz fight was pretty decent tonight (for two dudes putting on a sloppy brawl) but then the act with trying to leave the cage right away and then taking the mic and conducting the post-fight interview with Tito? Why make Ortiz's last moment as a fighter in the Octagon about your stupid antics?
- Tito looked like an old, shot fighter tonight. He was slower than ever, he didn't show much of a strategy and he didn't have it physically as his body seemed to betray him at every turn. Still, he went out in a way that he can still be proud of. He fought every round and had some moments where he almost won the fight. There's no shame in that. He has every right to feel okay with how he went out.
More after the jump...
- Cung Le looked like he was in with a sparring opponent in Patrick Cote. I like Cote, but he just didn't have much in the cage tonight.
- Cung Le is a guy who makes me pine for PRIDE-style non-title fights. He's not good enough to earn a title shot, but I feel like not getting Cung Le vs. Anderson Silva is to miss out on one of the most fun possible fights out there.
- Demian Maia fans should be thrilled. The injury ending that got him the win was a bit unusual/flukey, but he looked great in the short time before that. He was aggressive and slick like he was at his best days at 185 and he looked like he had it all working against a very legitimate welterweight. I wish we'd have seen a little more, but 170 might be the best thing to happen to the guy.
- Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie never should have happened. Cody can be the nicest guy in the world, he has no business in against one of the two or three best fighters in his division.
- There were people on twitter calling Mike Easton vs. Ivan Menjivar the UFC's worst 135 pound fight yet. I don't recall every fight offhand to agree or disagree, but it was disappointing as I was expecting a barnburner.
- On a different card, surrounded by different fights, I'd probably praise Melvin Guillard's performance tonight. He was calm and picked his spots to try to explode. I think he may have been a bit too reserved at times, but he wasn't freaking out, just fighting. Unfortunately, it was right at the end of some really bad prelims which put extra pressure on the fight to "be exciting."
- I don't really want to talk about the rest of the FX and Facebook prelims. They were legitimately bad. Most of the show tonight was bad. That is going to happen sometimes, it's just unfortunate that it happened on a show where I thought it was unlikely.
- I know the reaction to this is going to be some people whining that I'm "too negative" but these things are usually 50/50 positive/negative and always 100% honest reflections of my feelings in the immediate aftermath of the fight. Tonight saw a lot of bad fights and some really weird moments. Still, Silva vs. Sonnen happened and we can move on.
- Also, I suggest really watching the final 30 seconds of Silva/Sonnen a few times to see how beautiful everything Silva does is. The slickness to set up the punch that hurts Sonnen before the missed spinning backfist, the pinpoint knee to the body and then the violent and focused finish? That's as good as it gets in this sport, so enjoy.