Anderson Silva just won back all those fans who were not happy with his last fight againt Thailes Leites, a lackluster event that angered MMA fans.
He put on an electrifying performance at the Wachovia Center at UFC 101 by knocking out Forrest Griffin at 3:20 of round one.
Silva, the middleweight champion, moved up to fight Griffin, the former light heavyweight champion, and came into the ring with a purpose. He was ready to strike with Griffin, and landed one blow after another, while moving his head back and forth to avoid Griffin’s punches. It was a boxing lesson. There was nothing technical about it. It was a beat down.
Griffin (16-6) went down twice from right hands, the second time walking into the final blow that ended the fight. Griffin had come into the fight as the champion of the crowd, who roared their approval for Griffin, a brawler. He was booed as he ran out of the ring in defeat before the decision was announced and Silva’s hand was raised in victory.
It was a statement by Silva (25-4), to all MMA fans. He jumped on the top of the octagon and waved his fist in triumph to the crowd, which were all now Anderson Silva fans, and the Wachovia Center was buzzing after that performance.
It was still buzzing for the showdown between B.J. Penn and Kenny Florian for the UFC lightweight championship. Penn got the better off Florian by beating him to the punch and forcing him up against the cage in the first round, and then, with about 15 seconds left in the round, Florian swung and missed with a wild left and Penn came back with a right hand that shook Florian in the final seconds of the round.
They traded blows again in the second round, but Florian began connecting with some leg kicks. Then, in the third round, Florian kept trying to keep Penn pinned up against the cage. Whenever Penn would break free and they would be in the middle of the ring, Penn would get the better of the striking.
In round four, when Penn finally took Florian down, it was all over. Penn (14-5-1) pounded Florian (13-4) with elbows, forearms and fists, wearing him down, and then catching him withrear naked choke hold, forcing Florian to tap out at 3:54 of the fourth round.
In all, a big night for UFC, with the two main events great fights and a packed house at the Wachovia Center getting their blood thirst quenched — not easy to do in Philadelphia.