LAS VEGAS -- For a moment there, it was like time stood still. The T-Mobile Arena was electrified as the legendary Anderson Silva made his trademark walkout to the arena.
When his bout with Daniel Cormier started, though, we were reminded that Silva is a 41-year-old fighter, two months removed from gall bladder surgery, who took a fight on 48-hours notice.
While Silva deserves credit for stepping in and giving Cormier a matchup at UFC 200 after Jon Jones was pulled Wednesday night due to a potential anti-doping violation, the fight itself was anticlimactic. Cormier, the UFC light heavyweight champion, cruised to victory on Saturday night. The judges' scores were 30-26 across the board.
"I trained for eight weeks for a specific guy," Cormier said. "I fought a guy in Anderson Silva who is the greatest of all-time. I did what I had to do."
Cormier shot for a takedown early in the opening round and got it, then spent the rest of the round working Silva over. For his part, though, Silva still got enough guard game left that Cormier never got him into serious trouble.
At the outset of the second round, Silva came out and threw a sharp kick and a knee. Cormier responded with a sharp right, followed by a takedown, which elicited jeers from the crowd. Again, Cormier couldn't find an opening to finish, and John McCarthy stood them with about a minute and a half left in the round. Silva tantalized the crowd by firing a few strikes, but Cormier clinched Silva along the fence until the round ended.
Silva once again showed off a little bit of his standup flare to open the third, but Cormier, who appeared to be tiring despite being the one who put in a full camp, scored another takedown to the vast displeasure of the crowd. They were once again stood up, and Silva landed a kick to Cormier's ribs which registered, but it was too little, too late.
Cormier improved to 18-1 with his third straight win. Silva, who is seven weeks removed from gall bladder surgery, dropped to 33-8 (1 NC).
"This was a big challenge for me," said Silva, who lost a light heavyweight bout for the first time in his career. "This is proof you can do anything you set your mind to."