Fighting or playing? With Silva, the difference isn't always obvious
Any time UFC middleweight champ
In what was supposed to be a fresh test in a higher weight class, Silva toyed with Griffin from the opening seconds, landing his right hand at will and dropping the former champ several times. Midway through the first the Brazilian no longer bothered to defend his face, simply letting his hands rest near his waist as he implored Griffin to attack.
Griffin complied just over three minutes into the opening frame, charging forward with a lunging assault. Silva dodged each punch and responded with a short right hand almost as an afterthought, but it was enough to put down the beleaguered Griffin for the last time, bringing an end to the bout at 3:23 of round one.
Afterwards Silva praised Griffin, saying ""Forrest is a good guy. He's a good fighter. He's a good man."
Griffin was long gone by that point, however. As soon as he was capable of getting back to his feet following the final knockdown, he charged out of the Octagon and nearly ran back to the locker room, clearly disappointed with his performance.
But the way Silva fought on Saturday night there are very few fighters in any weight class who wouldn't have appeared similarly outclassed. "The Spider" slipped punches as if it were part of a choreographed dance and struck with violent precision whenever he saw even the slightest opening.
After two lackluster title defenses at middleweight, Silva used the move up in weight classes to show that, when he cares to be, he's still the most dominant fighter in the sport.
In the night's co-main event, UFC lightweight champ
The tide turned for good when Penn stopped simply avoiding takedowns and went for one of his own. The champion easily scooped Florian up for a double-leg takedown and then controlled the action on the mat before eventually taking Florian's back and sinking in the choke.
"When I woke up this morning, I thought, 'I've been at this thing a long time; what the hell am I doing? Then I realized this is my dream since I was a kid," said an elated Penn.
In other action from the Wachovia Center...
•"Ultimate Fighter" winner