By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva brushed away challenger and fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort at UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 126 on Saturday night to successfully defend his world title for a record eighth time. The two Brazilians fought for just 3:25 minutes in Las Vegas, before Silva showed just why he has dominated the middleweight class in the UFC for so long.
Rio de Janeiro born Vitor Belfort, retired for over four years, was brought back billed as the only man capable of stopping his compatriot in his tracks. Yet just as proved time after time, there is currently no one in the sport who can match Anderson Silva for speed, agility, and devastating strikes.
During a defensive opening two minutes from both fighters, little action was seen apart from the pair feeling each other out. Soon after Belfort lunged at the champion with some heavy swings, trying to strike the champion with a series of brawling punches. Belfort even managed to floor the champion, but the Paulista Silva was up again in a flash.
Silva easily evaded more patent blows, before landing a fatal sounding high kick to the Carioca Belfort’s jaw, sending the challenger crashing to the octagon floor with a deafening thud. After Silva followed up with two obligatory punches to his grounded opponent, referee Mario Yamasaki had seen enough.
The fight was stopped with less than four minutes past, thus extending Silva’s remarkable professional record to 28 wins in 32 bouts. Silva is also the first fighter to knock out Belfort. The fight epitomized everything Silva is about; quick, sharp and deadly.
The victory, as well as the dominating performance, was key for Silva if he is to earn his way back into the hearts of UFC fans. To put it mildly, his behavior in recent fights has been less then dignified or sportsman-like.
It was of little surprise to many that when Silva made his way to the ring for his title defense he was received by a chorus of boos from the 17,000 strong crowd. Silva’s last two bouts, against Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen, did little to convince people the Brazilian was the right champion for the sport.
Silva’s fight against Maia bordered on the farcical, as he spent more time taunting his rival rather than engaging in battle. After retaining the belt on a unanimous decision, Silva came as close as he ever has to dropping the title when he came up against Sonnen last year.
The American landed more punches on Silva than he had previously suffered in the entirety of his career, and only his ability to clap a fifth round submission hold on Sonnen kept his title reign in tact.
Last Saturday night in this epic Brazilian match-up, Anderson Silva showed that he has put his taunting and tantrums behind him, and he has returned to doing what he does best; heading well on his way to becoming one of the best warriors in UFC history.