Since shocking the MMA world with effortless destruction of betting favorites and middleweight kings, Chris Leben & Rich Franklin( the former via 100% accuracy) the man known as "the Spider" has racked up a laundry list of records and accomplishments. In my opinion the most impressive of said accomplishments is his unprecedented 10 (11 if you count fat Lutter) tittle defenses. Let's look back at every one of those defenses shall we? I try to capture the atmosphere surrounding the matches, along with commentary detailing the action and GIFs of notable moments. Without further ado, i present to you, my dear BE-litists, The Spider's web:
Act I - The Chosen one, Nate "the great" Marquardt: Only 3 fights into his reign of terror and many fans were already eager to see the champ dethroned. Many believed
notable cheater former King of pancrase and Greg Jackson product, Nate "the great" Marquardt would prove to be too much for the Spider, who was coming off a less than stellar(by his standards) non title affair against the Micheal Jordan of BJJ, Travis Lutter. Marquardt's wrestling background, BJJ blackbelt, and more than serviceable striking had many believing he was the one. The great Luke Thomas summed up the beliefs of many with a one line prediction, "Nate will upset Silva and become the new champion." Needless to say, "UFC 73: Stacked", which featured names such as Sean Sherk, Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Heath Herring, Kenny Florian, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, amongst others had the attention of MMA fans everywhere. If their Weigh in stare down was any indication Silva Vs. marquardt was going to steal the show.
7/7/07- Fight Night: (ARCO Arena - Sacramento, California) The restless crowd was eager for some action, Rashad Evans & Tito Ortiz just fought to a weird draw, before that, Sean Sherk retained his title in a lackluster 5 round affair against Hermes Franca. The pre fight hype package shows both guys predicting victory by K.O, most notably Nate predicting dominance on the ground. The challenger enters, looking cool, calm, and collected, doing a little shadow boxing. The champ enters & is all smiles, Joe Rogan utters the phrase that will live on in infamy "This guy's striking is like a ballet of violence". He also notes that Silva had double knee surgery 11 weeks prior to the Lutter fighter, and was walking like "he got double knee barred" when he saw him in the hotel, post fight.
Silva takes his time, jogs in place for a while then literally sprints to the prep point. He strips down, jokingly puts his hat on the head of one the commission guys that accompanied him and laughs, he's insanely relaxed. Two white girls in the front row dance awkwardly to his entrance music, it's in Portuguese, all i understand is "spider Silva, spider Silva". In the cage, Bruce Buffer plugs a bunch of stuff including "I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry" lol. The fighters are introduced, Silva gets a nice pop and couldn't contain his smile, he lives for this. He nonchalantly walks to center cage to hear the ref's instructions, Big John McCarthy is in charge of the action.
Challenger and Champ touch em up, the champ bows to the challenger then to the crowd as if to say "you're welcome" in advance, then goes back to his corner.
The action starts. Silva comes out southpaw, measuring and pawing away with his lead hand. Marquardt scores with a couple leg kicks. Anderson catches him coming in with a right hand and jumps into a switch knee, Marquardt catches his leg and latches on. Good balance from the champ as he tried to punish the challenger with a series of rights while on one legs. He jumps on his neck and drops down for a guillotine, Marquardt defends, pops his head out, now he's on top. Silva punishes his body with a couple elbows while he passes into half guard. The challenger stays active, the champ moves his head to avoid an elbow & punch then tries an arm-triangle from the bottom, he lets go. He tries to sweep, then regains full guard as Marquardt tries to pass.
Marquardt lands small shots to the body while Silva ties up, looking to stall to a stand up. Randy Couture is Mr. obvious on commentary, "obviously Anderson is not too worried about being taken down, a flying knee is not the technique of choice if you're worried about being taken down". Silva goes high with his guard, Marquardt backs out, he tries to create space and scramble back to his feet but Marquardt jumps on him, coming dangerously close to eating a couple upkicks in the process. Joe Rogan is Mr. on cue,"He's got very dangerous upkicks, he knocked out Yushin Okami with a upkick".
Devastating.... Now Back to the action:
Anderson is patiently moving on his back, another elbow attempt from "the great" wheezes by the champ, Mr. obvious likes it, "nice elbow attempt". Nate tries the posture up and rain down punishment, the Spider pushes him off, he jumps on him again, this time, eating a glancing upkick. From his cage side seat, owner Lorenzo Fertitta strains his neck in an attempt to see the extent of the damage caused by the kick(somebody get that man a high chair). The action stalls, referee McCarthy restarts them on the feet (a bit prematurely imo). They measure each other, Marquardt tries to close the distance with a 1, 2, the champ evades.
The champ stalks, both pawing away at each other ala Evans/Lil Nog, high kick from the champ is blocked.
still pawing away then boom:
The "great"didn't like that one bit, he grabs a single, Silva sprawls, now he's on his knees punishing Nate with elbows to the side of the head followed by audible body shots. Coach em up, Mr. Handy Couture: "He needs to take his weight off that knee and put that in his hips on the back of Marquardt's head or he's going to get taken down with a single leg. Sprawl hard and keep the weight off the mat and on Marquardt". They jostle for position, please continue, Mr. Couture: "Nice second attempt by Marquardt, trying to dump him with the high outside single.. NICE SWITCH! niceswitch by Silva."
The champ postures up, then rains down missiles, not a strike or movement wasted. He ends the fight with precision, patience and power, snaking punches through the smallest openings as his conquered foe attempts to cover up.
Referee John McCarthy halts the contest at 4:50 mark of the first round. Anderson Silva officially defends his middleweight title for the first time. The champ celebrates by jumping off the cage then kissing his fist while his next challenger looks on.
At the post fight in cage interview, he recites long essays in Portuguese, which manager Ed Soares translates into a couple sentences lol. A noticeably younger Joe Rogan (with a lush full head of hair) asks him to walk us through the finish, the Spider gives his coach the floor who then replies in Portuguese(translation by Ed Soares) "The explanation is, this is the man, this is the man, it's going to be very hard to take the belt away from this man". Fucking prophetic.