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UFC 97: Anderson Silva Earns 9th Straight Win in the Octagon

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva won a record-setting ninth straight time in the Octagon Saturday night, defeating Thales Leites by unanimous decision at UFC 97.

It was a bizarre fight in which neither Silva nor Leites seemed to want to push the pace. Leites got the better of Silva in the early going, but Silva started to use leg kicks effectively late in the fight, and in the third, fourth and fifth rounds he dominated. But he dominated Leites without finishing him, and that will lead some to criticize Silva for his passivity. The fans in Montreal booed Silva as the fifth and final round ended.





"Thales Leites is a very tough opponent," Silva said afterward, through his translator. "Sometimes we can't come out and give a spectacular show. He's a tough guy."

Ultimately, the goal of every fighter is to win the fight, and Silva accomplished that goal. But he accomplished it in less impressive fashion than other great fighters, like Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St Pierre and even Miguel Torres, have recently.

The other big story coming out of UFC 97 is that we may have seen the last fight in the great career of Chuck Liddell. Once among the top MMA fighters in the world, Liddell showed in his loss to Shogun Rua that he just doesn't have it anymore. Liddell has lost four of his last five fights, including three ugly knockout losses, and it's probably time for him to hang up the gloves and end one of the best careers in UFC history.

Better news for UFC fans is that Cheick Kongo is climbing the heavyweight ladder. The French Kongo beat Antoni Hardonk with a devastating ground-and-pound display in the second round, giving Kongo his third straight win in the Octagon, all by TKO. Kongo is an impressive heavyweight who keeps improving, and he's only a win or two away from earning a title shot.

Overall, it was a solid night of fights for the UFC in its second trip to Montreal, but it was a night that ended with the fans unsatisfied, because Silva was unimpressive in victory and Liddell went down in what may have been his final defeat.

UFC 97 Photos

    Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua shake hands before their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell, right, punches Shogun Rua during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell, right, punches Shogun Rua during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell, left, punches Shogun Rua during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua, right, attempts to punch Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua takes down Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua battle during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua battle during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua pounds Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

    Shogun Rua pounds Chuck Liddell during their match at UFC 97 on Saturday, April 19, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

    UFC

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