There's something to be said for anticipating a spectacular moment, then the moment arriving just as spectacularly as you anticipated, and still being left slack jawed and eyes bulging. Stephan Bonnar is a tough, legitimate professional fighter. He's been in the game for over a decade, and barring a controversial cut stoppage, he's fallen only to champions or former champions. And Anderson Silva made him look silly on Saturday night.
Actually, silly doesn't even describe it. What Silva did to Bonnar at UFC 153 was surreal. No amount of hyperbole could overstate it. People have thrown around the word artistry, and that's exactly what those four and a half minutes were.
"We saw something tonight that you might not f--king ever see again as long as you live," UFC President Dana White gushed in the post-fight scrum. "What that guy does, that spinning back kick where he steps to the side and then steps back, and he just kind of laid in there, he ate some shots, he let him hit him, he was moving his head and then playing with him. And then, the minute he said, 'I'm done,' it was done. It's just unbelievable. Nobody does that. Nobody. Nobody in this sport is able to do that."
White may be a promoter first, but he's absolutely, 100-percent correct. It defies logic. Silva is 37 years old, with a game predicated entirely on fast-twitch movements, yet he commands the cage with such grace, such style, and such precision, that it sometimes ceases being a fight and becomes something larger, more abstract.
The moment three minutes in is most telling. Bonnar digging his massive frame into Silva's chest. Silva's corner screaming at the champion. Wake up and do something. Get off the fence, take charge. And what happens? Silva just opens his palms, shakes his head. ‘Don't worry. I got this.' Sixty seconds later Bonnar is writhing in pain on the floor, and Silva is strolling around the Octagon with a wide grin tattooed across his face.
It's remarkable, and White summed it up best.
"I'm telling you right now, watch every fight that he has. Enjoy every moment that he's here. Because when he's gone, you're going to f--king regret it. You're going to wish you watched more. It's like [Michael] Jordan. I think about when Jordan played basketball, and even the games that didn't mean a lot, he still did a lot of great s--t. Anderson Silva is the guy you want to watch when he's fighting, because you're going to see some s--t you've never seen before in your life."
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Silva wins in instant classic, wants GSP next. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva became the first man to knock out Stephan Bonnar, flooring the veteran with a knee to the solar plexus late in the first round of UFC 153's extraordinary main event. As his contemporaries took to Twitter to dub him the greatest fighter on the planet, Silva reiterated he would not fight Jon Jones, but wanted Georges St-Pierre next.
Overeem to return to title shot. Inactive heavyweight Alistair Overeem will most likely return to a title shot early next year against the winner of Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez, according to Dana White. Overeem is unable to apply for a license until December 27.
Teixeira brutalizes Maldonado, calls out Rampage. Heavily-hyped light heavyweight Glover Teixeira brutalized Fabio Maldonado for two rounds before cageside doctors mercifully, belatedly called off the fight. Afterward, Teixeira humbly requested a big-name fight next, specifically mentioning his original opponent Rampage Jackson. Jackson promptly accepted the challenge, and Dana White signed off on it.
Big Nog defends BJJ, submits Herman. Fighting for the first time since December, legendary heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira submitted Dave Herman via armbar after a tenuous lead-up that saw Herman repeatedly claim Brazilian jui-jitsu didn't work on him.
Strikeforce cancels event, done for 2012. Strikeforce's Nov. 3 event was cancelled after a series of injury withdrawals eviscerated the main card. The announcement marks the second straight event cancellation for Strikeforce, though Showtime officials maintain the partnership will continue, and plans for a "stacked" January 2013 event are already in the works. Most ridiculously, neither promotion officials nor executives from Showtime notified headliner Daniel Cormier of the cancellation before revealing it to the media.
Fitch calls his shot. After promising a more exciting style that would result in a ‘Fight of the Night' bonus, welterweight stalwart Jon Fitch delivered, defeating Erick Silva via unanimous decision in a thrilling, back-and-forth affair. The win, which was his first since mid-2010, earned Fitch an additional $70,000 in bonus money. After which, Fitch elatedly declared, "Don't call it a comeback."
Between Silva's fireworks, Big Nog's dramatic return, Fitch's steely determination, Teixeira's sheer brutality, and Maia's ability to create blood faucets, UFC 153 may have been one of the most entertaining pay-per-views of the year.
It's hard not to feel bad for Strikeforce fighters after watching this post-fight interview with Dana White. They're pretty much helpless. No paychecks for the rest of the year and seemingly no one to turn to for answers.
Best two non-spoiler tidbits from Mirko Cro Cop's K-1 Grand Prix fight over the weekend: 1.) Look at that thumbnail. How perfectly vintage is that? 2.) I've never seen a loser trolled harder by an announcer than at the end of this clip.
Now seems like a perfect time to snag this out of the vault. If you've never seen the Anderson Silva documentary Like Water, sit back and enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at "The Spider."
I had that 1st round goin to Bonnar till Silva decided to try. #UFC— Joseph Benavidez (@JoeJitsu) October 14, 2012
@spideranderson pretty much said don't worry guys he sucks!— Michael Johnson (@FollowTheMenace) October 14, 2012
Seriously , do you still questionning yourself about who is the best P4P fighter in the world ??? #spidersilva— patrick cote (@patrick_cote) October 14, 2012
Too real ... Anderson Silva the modern day Bruce Lee #UFC153— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) October 14, 2012
Not injured, just caught with a perfect knee to the solar plex and it paralyzed me, was just getting movement back when fight was stopped.— Stephan Bonnar (@StephanBonnar) October 14, 2012
Thanks to everyone for the support, I'm so sorry I lost. I feel so bad for letting my fans down, but I promise to make it up to you.— Stephan Bonnar (@StephanBonnar) October 14, 2012
Getting Bonnar home to have his baby. twitter.com/danawhite/stat…— Dana White (@danawhite) October 14, 2012
Bonnar is bummed out and embarrassed but I told him he shouldn't be! He went after the GOAT and Silva does shit that others can't do.— Dana White (@danawhite) October 14, 2012
Just landed in Orlando to speak at the Cable TV convention 2 morrow. Bonnar is droppin me off and headin home. twitter.com/danawhite/stat…— Dana White (@danawhite) October 14, 2012
Very sad about not fighting but at the end of the day something positive will come from it. More time to train. I am with a good company...— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 12, 2012
I've dealt with much worse in my life. #positivethoughts. DC— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 12, 2012
@rampage4real sounds good bro— Dana White (@danawhite) October 14, 2012
Announced over the weekend (Friday, October 12, 2012 - Saturday, October 14, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from jerry.tsui, who has a proposal for Zuffa's next potential signee: Welcome Eddie Alvarez to the UFC by entering him in a lightweight tournament
The lightweight division arguably has the greatest amount of depth and parity among UFC weight classes. It is also a weight class that has been stuck in log jam mode dating back to the first Penn-Edgar in April 2010 and continuing in a rematch following by 2 sets between Edgar and Gray Maynard, and Edgar and current champion Ben Henderson. During this period many worthy contenders have risen up through the ranks, but it is difficult to decide who is the most worthy contender for a title shot after Henderson and Nate Diaz battle in Seattle on December 8th. The plot thickens even more with the impending arrival of former Bellator Champion Eddie Alvarez into the mix. What better way to welcome Alvarez to the UFC and determine who is the clear cut number one contender than to have an 8-man tournament. There will be plenty of time for it since I am assuming the Henderson-Diaz fight will end in a close decision necessitating a rematch in May 2013, and then a fight a Champion vs. Tournament winner fight in November 2013. Another assumption is that Strikeforce will be folding soon and Gilbert Melendez will be available to fight Ben Henderson if he is stil champ and there is not need for Henderson-Diaz 2, since I don't see a Melendez vs. Diaz fight happening if Diaz is the champion.
First, the participants and seeds for the tournament, including alternate bouts.The tournament would kick off in late December and early January
#1 Gray Maynard vs. #8 Joe Lauzon - This match up is already set for December 29th and pits the former TUF 5 alums against each other. Maynard earned the top seed in this tournament based off his trilogy against Edgar and overall consistency in the lightweight division. If this fight wasn't already scheduled, Lauzon would likely have warranted a higher seed, coming off his win against Jamie Varner.
#2 Anthony Pettis vs. #7 TJ Grant - Anthony Pettis has already beaten Ben Henderson and KO'd Joe Lauzon in his last outing. TJ Grant is 3-0 since dropping to lightweight and is coming off a solid victory over Evan Dunham.
#3 Donald Cerrone vs. #6 Jim Miller - Cowboy is 6-1 in the UFC since moving over from the WEC and always puts on a great show. Jim Miller has hit a rough patch, but that is only because he has fought the current champ and the number one contender in 2 of his last 3 bouts. He is still tough, durable, and has a sick submission and wrestling game.
#4 Eddie Alvarez vs #5 Matt Wiman - Could be the best fight of the first round. We all know about Eddie Alvarez, but I always view Matt Wiman as the under-valued, under-appreciated guy that always puts on a show. Wiman is 5-1 in his last 6 bouts, out grappling the scary sick submission artist Paul Sass and tapping him out in his last outing.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.