Live blog from UFC 97
The challenger flops to his back again, connects on few more, and stands. Rinse. Repeat.
This is embarrassing for Leites. He refuses to engage outside of weak, overextended takedown attempts. In a title fight, the fight of your life, his performance is inexcusable. Would sure like to see Silva go after Leites, but he hasn't with 90 seconds to go.
A lead left bounces Leites' head back. That was pretty much it.
Classic Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter outmatched against a great striker that can't get taken down. The final period closes to boos from the sold-out audience at the Bell Centre.
Leaping left hook scores for Silva. A high kick, deflected. If the ground game won't come for Leites, he'll have to make some effort at scoring on the feet. Thus far, haven't seen much of it.
Good low kick as Thales dives in for a double-leg that gets stuffed. Silva twirls his fellow countryman with a low kick. This is target practice without much ammo. A minute to go and Silva jabs and dances. He needs Leites to come forward, and it ain't happening. For the second consecutive fight, Silva doesn't look like the best fighter on the planet. Fedor and GSP both wipe out less competition.
Leites falls to the canvas, pawing at his right eye. Referee
Anderson is beginning to move forward. Good inside leg kick. The champion shows frustration after another standup when Leites fell to his back to avoid strikes. Silva lands a big kick to the ribs, nice strike.
Silva doesn't feel like he's facing someone who wants to fight. And he's got no respect for the challenger, as shown by a jumping scissor kick. Good jab and low kick from Silva. He can finish this fight by throwing basic combination. Leites can't take Silva down and he's standing flatfooted. I can see judges scoring it 10-8 because of Leites' timidity.
The challenger is working from half-guard. This would appear to be his best chance to win the fight. Anderson is keeping a tight lockdown on Leites left leg, and transitions to a body triangle on the bottom. This is a rare defensive position, but Silva can pull it off because of his long legs.
Good round for Leites. He hasn't passed the guard yet, but he landed some scoring shots. A mistake by the challenger and we're standing again.
Not that it seems to matter. Silva isn't attacking, and the challenger isn't pressing the issue. Thirty seconds to go and Silva continues working with his hands at his sides, not offering much offense.
Silva doesn't appear to have much respect for Leites' hands. The champion stands head-forward, hands down, almost begging an attack so he can counter. A smattering of boos from the crowd in Montreal with two minutes to go in the opening round.
Lots of feinting and moving, and Silva scores with a sweet little right hook to the body.
Leites is working hard for a takedown. He pulled half-guard, fought to a single-leg and then scrambled with Silva across the cage. But the champion is a hard one to get down, and he remains standing to the closing bell.
Meanwhile, Fedor pummeled
If Leites can get to fight to the canvas, his jiu-jitsu and guard-passing skills should be good enough to give the long-limbed champion problems.
Still, expect Silva to stay out of Leites' range, land punches from the outside and do most of his damage in the Thai clinch. The expectation here is for "The Spider" to go into the history books with his ninth consecutive win in the UFC.
The win immediately puts Rua (18-3) in the UFC's deep light heavyweight division, without much debate the best in MMA.
In large measure, that distinction should be considered a compliment to Liddell, who ruled it for over three years starting with his win over
Again, he counters a jab over the top. Nice takedown from Rua. Liddell, of course, stands. Leg lock from the Brazilian. But Liddell is having none of it, doing what made him such an effective striker: standing from the bottom. Wrestling exchanges are key. Unsuccessful, they can ruin Rua's breathing by changing his rhythm. Liddell lands punches that force Shogun back across the cage. A nice double-leg from Liddell is for sure, as he stands and wants to strike in the final 45 seconds.
Lunging lead left hook plasters Liddell! Rua dives in and uncorks seven hammerfists before referee
The punch was clean. Liddell's legs gave way and Rua, as he'd done during his reign in 2005, swarmed and wailed away until the finish was undeniable.
With a decisive win tonight in Montreal against
No matter how you rank 'em -- I have it Fedor and GSP in a virtual tie, with "The Spider" a hair behind -- MMA's top heavyweight, welterweight and middleweight, respectively, are without much argument the best three fighter's the sport has ever produced.
It wasn't so long ago
• Anderson Silva def. Thales Leites by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 50-46), R5
• Sam Stout def. Matt Wiman by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), R3
• Mauricio "Shogun" Rua def. Chuck Liddell by TKO (Strikes) at 4:28, R1
• Krzysztof Soszynski def. Brian Stann by Submission (Kimura) at 3:53, R1
• Cheick Kongo def. Antoni Hardonk by TKO (Strikes) at 2:29, R2
• Luiz Cane def. Steve Cantwell by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), R3
• Denis Kang def. Xavier Fouka-Pokum by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
• Nate Quarry def. Jason MacDonald by TKO (Strikes) at 2:27, R1
• Ed Herman def. David Loiseau by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27), R3
• Mark Bocek def. David Bielkheden by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:57, R1
• T.J. Grant def. Ryo Chonan by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28), R3
• Eliot Marshall def. Vinny Magalhaes by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), R3