Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Even as he readied for UFC 153, Anderson Silva was faced with questions about the future. Stephan Bonnar was just a temporary distraction, it seemed, and some real challenge lied into the future. Maybe it was Jon Jones, or maybe it was Georges St-Pierre, but Saturday night was just some formality.
It's not supposed to be that easy when a fighter moves up in weight, up some 20 pounds, but Silva has made a career out of the extraordinary, and Saturday night was just another addition to his career canon.
Showing little regard for any danger Bonnar presented, Silva essentially toyed with him for most of the first round before finally unleashing. Uncoiling a perfectly timed, full-power knee to Bonnar's chest, Silva scored a knockdown, and a few ground strikes later, it was over.
The official time of the knockout win was 4:40, improving his UFC-record win streak to 16 straight.
"I'm not the best. I just believe that I can do things that people think are impossible," Silva (33-4) told the frenzied HSBC Arena crowd afterward.
As the opening minutes progressed, it seemed as though Silva was content with giving up the first round to Bonnar, who came forward from the opening bell in hopes of making the fight an ugly, grueling affair. Bonnar worked hard to get the fight to the ground, initiating a lengthy clinch against the fence.
Bonnar was able to occasionally land from short range, but nothing of any substance, as Silva looked to plot an escape. Once free though, he did something unexpected. He planted himself against the cage, inviting Bonnar free shots at him.
Bonnar tried combinations but landed little as Silva occasionally ducked and weaved, forcing him to miss before countering with his stinging right jab. Bonnar actually landed a left elbow and a right cross in succession but Silva hardly reacted to the blows, and within a minute, the fight was over in his favor.
The final sequence began as Silva stopped a takedown try and initiated one of his own with a trip. Bonnar (15-8) stumbled backwards and as he got to his feet, Bonnar crumbled him with the vicious knee before closing it out with a few ground strikes.
Afterward, announcer Joe Rogan asked him if he would consider fighting at 205, where a potential superfight with Jon Jones could await him. Silva shot that down.
"No, I'm not going to fight at 205," he said. "I fought at 205 to save the event. I fight at 185 pounds and I was doing this just to save the event and put on a show for everybody."
Whether it's against Jones or St-Pierre, or as he suggests, against some middleweight opponent, Silva left everyone awaiting his next dose of amazing.
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