There are only a handful of events in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s nearly two-decade existence that can rival the anticipation and must-see atmosphere surrounding the much anticipated rematch between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva.
When the cage door closed behind these two top-ranked middleweight stars it took just 6 seconds before the 185-pound king was placed on his back and eating ground-and-pound from the world-class wrestler.
But the sense of ‘de ja vu’ stopped in the second frame, a disproportionate failed spinning back fist attempt signaled the end for the self-proclaimed American Gangster as Silva pounced on his moment of weakness landing a well-placed knee to the chest before sealing the deal with grounded strikes.
Anderson Silva vs. Weidman-Munoz winner
Redemption was the theme of the night for the middleweight champ as he knocked out the only man to trouble him in his six year run inside the top-MMA organization.
While the question of retirement has been breached when discussing the future of the 37-year-old it’s clear that he is still atop the consensus pound-for-pound pecking order and looking to continue to add more victims to his hit-list.
The fighter with the most impressive resume that hasn’t met with Silva is Mark Munoz, the two-time NCAA Division I All-American has a real stiff test in just a few days in unbeaten Serra-Longo prodigy Chris Weidman to worry about before even thinking about the Brazilian.
Chael Sonnen vs. Rich Franklin
Despite early success Sonnen fell short in his bid to have UFC Figurehead Dana White wrap a ten-pound championship around his waist and is left in an interesting position – While he will beat most in the division, it’s going to be harder than ever for him to build a case for a third go-around for the title.
While his future at 185-pounds is at question with his hulking size and painful weight cuts but if he wants to continue down at middleweight a perfect dance partner would be Rich Franklin who is currently looking to put together a run for a third fight with Silva too.
Forrest Griffin vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Tonight the final chapter in the story of Tito Ortiz as an active competitor was written when Forrest Griffin put a bow on their trilogy winning the final encounter, the one for all the marbles and bragging rights.
Griffin once again ran from the cage like a wild animal removed from an enclosure before returning to jollily conduct a post-fight interview with the former UFC light-heavyweight king in the most bi-polar post-fight performance in UFC, nay sports history.
Right now I question Griffins dedication to fighting but if he’s willing to get back in the cage soon pairing him up would be a real test for hot Swedish prospect Alexander Gustafsson.
Demian Maia vs. Rick Story
Demian Maia made his welterweight debut and got his hand raised in eyebrow raising fashion on first glance, forcing the fight to the floor as Kim fell awkwardly, before Maia could land any significant hard-shots the fight was stopped.
Unfortunately for my vintage, out of date sense of humor he didn’t tap from mount in shades of Art Jimmerson at UFC 1 but he held his ribs in agony as soon as the fight was stopped.
While not the perfect debut the jiu-jitsu stylist hoped for it was a victory over a high-level talent, pairing him with Rick Story would be a fair fight for both men moving forward.
Chad Mendes vs. Ricardo Lamas
40 pounds south from Chael Sonnen, Team Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes finds himself in a similar state of purgatory being the number-two ranked fighter in the division but having a long road back to proving his worth as the next title-challenger.
Tonight he made short work of guillotine-expert Cody McKenzie and he needs to keep the ball rolling and get back into action immediately, especially since he came away unscaved.
Pairing him with Ricardo Lamas, who recently upset top-ranked Japanese featherweight Hatsu Hioki would be a nice step forward to seeing where both stack up at the top of the pecking order.