Anderson Silva, the previously elusive fighter who once mocked his competition, was successful in a desperate attempt at a submission of who ended up being a better overall fighter: Chael Sonnen.
Sonnen talked a bunch of trash, and after ruffling the feathers of so many MMA and Silva fans, he came out and gave the best fight of his career and revealed Silva's weaknesses.
Nobody really gave Sonnen a chance before UFC 117. Everyone compared his Dan Hardy-like trash talk to Dan Hardy's effectiveness against Georges St. Pierre. Big mistake.
After beating Silva up for 5 rounds, Sonnen may have officially lost the fight, but what did he gain in the process? The respect of every MMA fan in the world.
Up until the last two minutes of the fight, Silva looked like a joke for the entire 5 rounds. He landed a submission out of desperation, and he was lucky.
That's ok, though. For all the Silva fans to bite their nails and sweat bullets in anticipation of seeing their champion lose the title (similar to Machida vs. Shogun I), they let out an emphatic cheer synonymous to a sigh of relief when Silva was lucky.
Again, that's ok. Sonnen never stood a chance anyway, remember?
As many discussed before this fight, Sonnen was in a win-win situation. Even if he had been knocked out at the beginning of the fight, Sonnen would have gained the fame from his trash talking and fight-hyping.
Everything has changed now, though.
The fighter that Silva was supposed to systematically disassemble beat Silva up for so long that thoughts surrounding how Silva would win turned to what Silva could do to not lose.
For 23 minutes, Silva looked like the omnipotent bully in the school yard that picked on the wrong kid, albeit one smaller and weaker than himself. Yet the kid that stood up to the bully beat the bully into desperation and happened to lose composure at the end.
Did Silva really win? Officially yes, but truthfully, Silva merely survived.
The trouble for Silva from here onward is that he will be plagued with the idea of Sonnen beating him up for 5 rounds up until the last minute. Although he deserves credit for pulling off the submission, he will likely get very little, and rightfully so.
In the last few fights leading up to Sonnen, Silva fought as if he wasn't being challenged. UFC 117 showed one, that Silva is not omnipotent as so many believe, and two, that sometimes trash talk is truthful.
It's now apparent that there is likely at least an element of truth to Sonnen's statement that Silva has ducked him for four years. Silva was beat up just like Sonnen predicted, and despite the outcome, Silva looked foolish.
Not a day before the fight, Silva wouldn't even grace Sonnen with eye contact; a day later and Silva still won't look him in the eye, though this time for different reasons.
Anderson Silva was a joke of a fighter tonight, and although congratulations are in order for his being able to pull off a last attempt submission in the last two minutes of a 5 round beatdown, will people really respect him as much as they did?
In the past, Silva fought like he wasn't being challenged. Regardless of the outcome, it's clear he was challenged at UFC 117, and the irony is that he will likely look like a wimp the rest of his career and, in a sense, manhandled.
What's next? Well, it depends on how much Dana White actually cares about Silva's UFC record.
If the UFC wants Silva to retain his record, they'll keep him fighting the same middleweights he fought before Sonnen.
If the UFC doesn't care about his record, they'll feed him to George St. Pierre, now who obviously would manhandle Silva even more on the ground as GSP is likely a more talented grappler than Sonnen.
Of course, there's always a possibility of a rematch against Sonnen, which Silva will likely duck until he retires.
All-in-all, the damage has been done, and Silva still doesn't look any better; in fact, only worse. Ironically, Sonnen has moved up in credibility while Silva has moved down.
Brock Lesnar took the beating of his life and brought the fight back to a standing position against the hardest hitting heavyweight to date, who happened to be undefeated. Silva couldn't even bring the fight back to standing after 5 rounds.
Silva should have learned a lesson from Lesnar: fans respect heart and modesty, not an over-hyped fighter that hangs on to a submission after the ref stops the fight when the fight was anticipated to be stopped in round 1 by the guy who was beat up for 5 rounds.
As for Silva's legacy, it's already gone. Now he can only cling to his UFC record, which again has been proven to be quite volatile when put against the best of wrestlers.
Congratulations on the win, Mr. Silva, and congratulations on the victory, Mr. Sonnen.
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