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Looking Back: Anderson Silva's Ten Title Defenses

The Spider looks to successfully defend his middleweight crown for the 11th time against Chris Weidman at UFC 162 on July 6...

UFC middleweight champion Anderson SilvaOf all the records UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has shattered, the most impressive may be the one that has him sitting at the top of the pack for most successful title defenses in UFC history. With the Spider’s mark currently at ten as he prepares for his UFC 162 main event against Chris Weidman on July 6th, we’re going to take a look back at each of those defenses as we called them on fight night.

Nate MarquardtUFC 73 – 7/7/07
Result: Silva TKO1

It was supposed to be one of Anderson Silva’s toughest tests, but instead, his win over respected challenger Nate Marquardt at the Arco Arena tonight proved to be one of his greatest victories, as he defended his UFC middleweight crown for the first time with a decisive first round TKO in the UFC 73 main event.

With the win, Silva improves to 19-4; Marquardt falls to 28-7-1.

After briefly jarring Marquardt with a punch in the opening minute of the fight, Silva’s attempt at an acrobatic follow-up kick earned him a trip to the canvas.  While there, Silva did work effectively with strikes from the bottom, while Marquardt did his fair share of damage from the top.  With 1:30 left, referee John McCarthy re-started the action despite the fact that both fighters were active on the ground, and Silva opened up, forcing Marquardt to look for the takedown.  But just when it seemed that Marquardt had weathered the storm and would survive the round, Silva’s brutal power erupted and he landed on the challenger with a series of right hands that forced McCarthy to halt the bout at 4:50 of the opening round.

Rich FranklinUFC 77 – 10/20/07
Result: Silva TKO2

If anyone doubted the validity of Anderson Silva’s first win over Rich Franklin in 2006, they weren’t doubting it anymore after the UFC middleweight champion defended his crown for the second time with a second round stoppage of the man he won the title from in a more competitive but equally dominant fight.

Franklin was busy early with leg kicks and quick jabs to the head.  Silva didn’t fire his first shot until 55 seconds had elapsed, and that was a knee to the body followed by an attempt at the same clinch that ended Franklin’s title reign.  This time though, Franklin fought the attempt off well, and after a brief scramble against the fence, the bout hit the mat.  Silva would rise after a few moments, and Franklin got close and pushed Silva to the fence.  After breaking, the two engaged, with a left kick to the face by Silva the most telling blow before Franklin was able to push his foe to the fence again.  Once the two separated, Silva brought out his bag of tricks, which included spinning backfists and of course, his devastating knees.  It was a right hook to the head though, which dropped Franklin at the bell, and forced his cornermen to assist him back to his stool.

With his legs back apparently back under him, Franklin aggressively took after Silva to begin round two, but when ‘Ace’ got too close, the champion showed why he is the best fighter in the world, pound for pound, as he hurt Franklin with another right hand, and started sending a ferocious arsenal of knees the hometown hero’s way again.  Finally, Franklin just collapsed under the assault, causing referee John McCarthy to call a stop to the bout at 1:07 of the round.

Dan HendersonUFC 82 – 3/1/08
Result: Silva Wsub2

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva lost the first round to PRIDE 183-pound title holder Dan Henderson in their UFC 82 title unification bout, but in round two, Silva turned up the heat and finished Henderson with a rear naked choke to make it game over and another victory for the most dominant fighter in the sport.

The opening seconds were tense as Henderson moved forward behind probing kicks to the leg. Silva fired back with a leg kick of his own 70 seconds into the bout, but a brief follow-up exchange produced no fireworks. As the bout approached the three minute mark, Silva was trying to work his kicks, but it was Henderson who broke the ice scoring wise with a takedown. Silva did his best to keep Henderson tied up as the Californian fired off a series of hammerfists at close range, and with under 30 seconds left Henderson briefly got into side control before ending up in Silva’s guard by round’s end.

Silva came out with more urgency in the second round, firing off kicks that Henderson was able to brush off with little difficulty. Henderson fired back with some haymakers, but while Silva waved his foe on, the close exchanges allowed Henderson to grab hold of ‘The Spider’ and tie him up against the fence. Once the two separated, Henderson landed with a couple of hard strikes, but Silva responded with a right knee to the head that appeared to jar ‘Hendo’. Henderson looked for the takedown, but Silva jumped into the top position and tried to land a finisher. As the round entered its final two minutes, Henderson’s head was clear, but Silva was actively working, and with under a minute to go, the UFC champion got his foe’s back and sunk in a rear naked choke. Henderson valiantly tried to fight it off and make it to the end of the round, but at the 4:52 mark he was forced to tap out.

Patrick CoteUFC 90 – 10/25/08
Result: Silva TKO3

As expected, Anderson Silva successfully defended his UFC middleweight title against heavy underdog Patrick Cote in the UFC 90 main event Saturday night at Allstate Arena. What no one saw coming was the ending, as a competitive fight ended prematurely when Cote blew out his knee in the third round, awarding the bout to Silva via TKO.

The win was Silva’s eighth in the UFC against no losses, and his fourth successful title defense. And contrary to what oddsmakers believed prior to the match, Cote was no easy mark for the pound for pound king.

Cote shot out a few range-finding leg kicks to open the bout. Silva calmly used the Octagon, keeping his distance until he got his rhythm. Cote calmly stalked, moving his head side to side to avoid getting hit with a quick KO punch or kick.. Two minutes in, Cote tried a head kick that Silva easily pulled away from, and the champion looked like he was starting to get his own offense in gear. With under two minutes left, the crowd and Cote started getting restless, and the Canadian attacked wildly. Silva avoided serious trouble and fired back with a knee to the chin that Cote took well. Silva continued to use all the Octagon real estate in the final minute, only landing a quick head kick just before the bell that left Cote bleeding from a cut over his right eye.

Silva struck early in round two, first with a jarring left to the head. Moments later the two briefly locked up against the fence, but after breaking, Silva kept the pressure on, eventually forcing Cote to the canvas. While there, Cote stayed busy with strikes from the bottom, and the two stood up seconds later. In an ensuing exchange, Cote appeared to hurt his foot, but he kept trudging forward. Silva was seemingly toying with the challenger, but Cote was all business as he shot for two takedowns, both of which were rebuffed. By the end of the round, Silva had scored with a couple of knees to the body at close range, but neither did any significant damage.

Both fighters closed the distance quickly to start round three, but just as suddenly, as Cote planted his foot to move in on the champion, he buckled his right knee and fell to the canvas in pain. After making an attempt to rise, he fell again, and referee Herb Dean had no choice but to stop the fight at the 39 second mark.

"We were putting on the fight that the world wanted to see," said SIlva. "It was a fun fight, but unfortunately it ended the way it did. We’ll be back again."

With the win, Silva improves to 23-4; Cote falls to 14-5.

Thales LeitesUFC 97 – 4/18/09
Result: Silva W5

Mama said there would be nights like this. In his first five rounder on Saturday night, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva earned the UFC record for most consecutive wins and tied the mark for most consecutive title defenses with his unanimous decision win over Thales Leites, but the lackluster 25-minute bout earned more boos than cheers from the sold-out crowd at the Bell Centre for it’s sometimes bizarre lack of action.

“It’s unfortunate that things sometimes turn out that way, but when you’re not in here, it’s hard to tell what going on sometimes,” said Silva. “Sorry.”

Scores were 49-46, 48-47, and 50-46 for Silva.

After meeting each other in the middle of the Octagon, Silva and Leites circled each other at close range for over a minute before Silva threw out a range-finding jab at Leites. The action didn’t pick up much after that, with Silva stalking and Leites reluctant to throw anything back because of the possibility of a fight-ending counter. With just over two minutes left, Leites scored with kicks downstairs and up, prompting Silva to chase his foe with a little more urgency. Leites, for his part, stayed out of trouble and kept his cool. With under a minute left, Silva tripped Leites to the canvas, and after the Rio De Janeiro product got back up, Leites shot in for a takedown but was rebuffed and tied up by Silva until the bell sounded.

Again, the two opened the round mere inches away from each other, waiting for the right moment to strike. For Leites, that moment came when he took Silva to the canvas and began to work his ground game. While in Silva’s guard, Leites fired off ground strikes, but his guard pass was turned away as Silva scrambled and stood up. Back standing, Silva dropped his hands, daring Leites to hit him. Leites kept his composure, despite the boos coming from the rafters. As the round closed, Silva tried to push the action, but Leites stayed out of range of any serious incoming fire.

Pushing forward with more urgency, Silva came out fast in the third round, looking to make something happen. Leites landed with two right hands, but then fell to the mat after an apparent poke in the eye. After a standup from referee Yves Lavigne, Leites shot for a takedown but was rebuffed. Leites remained on the mat until Lavigne stood him up, and Silva went back on the attack. On a couple of occasions, Leites fell to the canvas to avoid the incoming attacks, and it looked like just a matter of time until Silva finished things.

Silva started attacking Leites lead left leg in round four, and he started showboating as he chased after Leites, who appeared to be just trying to survive at this point in the fight. Even Leites’ takedown attempts were half-hearted and easily tossed aside by Silva, and as the seconds ticked away, the bout was getting more bizarre as Silva tried to taunt Leites into some sort of offense.

With five minutes left to make his run for the belt, Leites finally started attacking Silva in the final round, getting his nose bloodied as he tried for a fight-saving submission. Silva easily eluded any danger and got in a few punches to the face before rising, and the fans let the fighters know that they weren’t too happy with what they were seeing, even starting a chant of “GSP” for Canada’s favorite son. As for the rest of the action in the round, there was little, if any, of it, making the final verdict and Silva’s entrance into the UFC record books a mere formality.

With the win, the 34-year old Silva improves to 24-4; Leites falls to 14-2.

Demian MaiaUFC 112 – 4/10/10
Result: Silva W5

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s return to the Octagon after an eight month absence wasn’t as explosive as his previous battle with Forrest Griffin.

Not even close.

And though he retained his belt with a five round unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia in the UFC 112 main event Saturday night at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, it was a bout filled with more stalemates than submissions, and more posing than punching, forcing Silva to apologize more than celebrate after the final bell sounded.

“Demain actually surprised me with some of his punches,” said Silva. “I apologize to everybody; I don’t know what got into me. I wasn’t as humble as I should have been. It was just the ring rust and a little bit of everything. I can guarantee that next time it won’t happen."

Scores for Silva were 50-45 twice and 49-46.

The two southpaws touched gloves to start the bout, and Maia moved forward as Silva waited to counter. Silva opened the scoring 1:40 in with a kick to the leg that turned Maia around, and the crowd began chanting his name. Silva responded with a spinning back kick and some taunting of Maia, whose face didn’t change expression. The challenger wasn’t pushing the action though, relaxing the champion even more . With a minute left, Maia shot for a takedown but missed, and a left knee to the head from Silva put him on the mat. Maia remained on his back, hoping to draw Silva into a ground fight, but Silva wouldn’t bite, and he ended the round with more flash tactics that kept Maia on the defensive.

 Silva came out for round two with his hands down, and he proceeded to walk after his foe with disdain, not worried about any incoming fire. Silva’s leg kicks soon raised a welt on Maia’s calf, and subsequent takedown attempts from Maia continued to come up empty. After a third takedown miss, Silva taunted Maia and beckoned him to stand and fight, but there was still no sustained action, with Silva simply clowning and Maia missing with tentative jabs and takedowns as the champion put another round in the bank.

Maia, bleeding from a cut from the nose, moved at Silva to begin the third round, but he was still unable to score on the champion, who continued to peck and prod at his foe with leg kicks. Midway through the round, it looked like Silva was going to end things, but a lack of clean blows left Maia upright. In the final minute, Maia tried to make something happen with a couple strikes and a failed takedown attempt, but that was it, and the fans were getting more restless by the second.

 Maia finally landed a clean shot on Silva early in round four, an overhand left that didn’t move the champion, but at least it was something. The crowd began booing again, and for good reason, but as the lack of action continued, they began chanting for Maia, hoping to see Silva get pushed for the first time in the fight. Then chants went up for welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre as referee Dan Miragliotta implored the fighters to begin fighting. Maia even stopped and called for Silva to fight in the final minute, but to no avail.

With his left eye closed shut, Maia trudged out of his corner for the fifth round, trying to make something happen, and he finally attacked with strikes and takedown attempts, and the crowd erupted, chanting the challenger’s name. Silva, for his part, refused to deviate from his fight plan, even as Maia pressed for takedowns. As the final 90 seconds approached,  Silva began running around the Octagon, refusing to engage at all as the crowd booed. Finally, referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the ‘action’ with a minute left and warned Silva to stop running. But unfortunately, Silva didn’t take the warning to heart as he ran out the clock and capped off a disappointing sixth title defense.

With the win, Silva improves to 26-4; Maia falls to 12-2.

Chael Sonnen I – UFC 117 – 8/7/10
Result: Silva Wsub5

Chael Sonnen promised that he would give UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva a fight in their UFC 117 main event Saturday night at Oracle Arena and he lived up to his word as he dominated the first four rounds of their bout. But in the fifth, it was Silva pulling off an incredible triangle choke that allowed him to retain his title and get the last word on the challenger.

“I knew that I was losing the first four rounds,” said Silva, who made the seventh successful defense of his title. “Chael put on a helluva fight tonight.”

“It was a tough fight, he’s a tough guy - I came in second,” said Sonnen, whose pre-fight trash talk reached epic proportions and also made this one of the most highly-anticipated bouts of the year.

And it lived up to its billing.

Steel-faced, Sonnen seemed to be on a rush to make it into the Octagon for the biggest fight of his career. Silva, on the other hand, was as cool as ever, bowing to the crowd as he made his walk into battle. Sonnen impatiently paced, pointing at and calling for Silva as he waited.

He would have his chance soon enough, as referee Josh Rosenthal called both men to the center of the Octagon. Sonnen immediately closed the gap on Silva, but was unable to get him to the mat. He didn’t need to, as a left hand rocked Silva briefly, forcing the champion to get the fight to the mat as he looked to clear his head. After a few seconds, the two rose, and Sonnen continued to land with strikes until taking Silva down hard and pinning him against the fence. There, Sonnen unleashed ground strikes on Silva, who was in the most trouble of his UFC career. By the midway point, it looked like Silva had cleared his head, even though Sonnen kept landed with punches while looking for a choke. After spinning out of trouble briefly, Silva fell back into danger courtesy of the challenger’s fists, and the crowd erupted. Finally, the bell rang, giving Silva a much-needed break from the assault.

Silva came out fast for round two, intent on getting his respect from Sonnen. But after losing his balance, Silva was put on his back again, and Sonnen fired away again, even resorting to boxing Silva’s ears and slamming him as the champion tried to hang on and force a restart. With none forthcoming, Silva tried to land some elbows from the bottom as Sonnen peppered him, but the shots were having no effect on the Oregon native. Instead, Sonnen seemed to get stronger as the round progressed, with Silva having no answers for him. With under a minute to go, Silva finally made his move, almost locking up Sonnen’s arm, but it was not to be, and the bell soon intervened.

A big right hand from Silva opened up round three as Sonnen rushed him, and he followed up seconds later with a spinning back kick. None seemed to affect Sonnen, who took Silva back to the mat. A series of knees to the thigh and punches to the head followed, with Silva making no attempt to escape. With 1:30 gone, the champion was able to escape, but he still wound up in the bottom position as the crowd chanted the challenger’s name.  Sonnen kept his followers happy with more ground strikes, wrapping up another one-sided round in his favor.

Silva finally got the fight where he wanted it in round four, rocking Sonnen with a series of bad intentioned strikes before getting the challenger on his back. But his furious assault may have gassed him out, as Sonnen cleared his head and reversed position on “The Spider”. While on his back, Silva tried to hold on to force a restart, but Sonnen’s continued activity made that an impossibility, as he landed with whatever strikes he had at his disposal. Silva gamely fought back from the bottom, opening a nasty cut over Sonnen’s left eye, but as the bell rang, he would only have five minutes to save his crown.

A short left hand knocked Silva off balance and down early in the final stanza, and Sonnen immediately pounced on him and continued the attack that had won him the first four rounds.  Again, Silva tried to potshot from the bottom, but it was clear that he was going to need a miracle to win the belt. Well, with a little more than two minutes to go, he got it, as he sunk in a triangle choke. Sonnen tried to resist, but he eventually tapped at the 3:10 mark. And though Sonnen protested the tap, replays showed otherwise, and the belt remained in the hands of the pride of Curitiba.

With the win, Silva, who claimed a rib injury almost kept him out of the bout, improves to 27-4; Sonnen falls to 26-11-1.

Vitor BelfortUFC 126 – 2/5/11
Result: Silva KO1

    Vitor Belfort was widely considered to be the most dangerous threat to Anderson Silva’s middleweight title reign. So Silva did what you’re supposed to do to such threats – he eliminated him immediately, knocking out Belfort in the first round to retain his crown for the eighth time Saturday night in the UFC 126 main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In the process, Silva broke a tie with Matt Hughes for most successful title defenses in UFC history.

“That’s just one of the tricks I was working on,” said Silva, who, for all intents and purposes, ended the bout with a spectacular front kick to the chin.

The chants of “Vitor, Vitor” came from the rafters as soon as referee Mario Yamasaki called the two fighters to battle, but there would be no initial fireworks, as the two cautiously circled each other for the first 90 seconds until Belfort landed a range-finding leg kick. At the midway point, with still no meaningful action, Silva began showboating, with Belfort finally firing off a 1-2. Moments later, Belfort caught a Silva kick and the two tumbled to the mat. They rose quickly, and Silva, significantly warmed up, eluded a Belfort haymaker and came back with a blistering left front kick to the chin that dropped “The Phenom.”  Quickly moving in, Silva landed a 1-2 on his prone foe, and that was enough for Yamasaki to call a halt to the bout as the 3:25 mark.

“He caught me with a great kick,” said Belfort. “Anderson Silva is a great fighter. I’ll be back.”

With the win, Silva improves to 28-4; Belfort falls to 19-9.

Yushin Okami – UFC 134 – 8/27/11
Result: Silva TKO2

Numbers don’t even do him justice anymore. Yes, Anderson Silva added to his record number of title defenses (nine) and consecutive UFC wins (14) Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, but in stopping number one contender Yushin Okami in the second round of the UFC RIO main event, the 36-year old Silva isn’t getting older – he’s getting better.

What’s next?

“My clone,” he laughed.

That might be the only one capable of stopping the reign of Silva, who avenged a 2006 disqualification loss to Okami in the UFC’s first visit to Brazil since Ultimate Brazil in 1998. And as soon as the bout began to heat up, there was no doubt that the Curitiba native was going to send his home country fans away happy.

Showing little emotion before the opening bell, Okami came right at Silva to begin the fight, and the champion smoothly moved around the Octagon, feinting and keeping the challenger from committing. Two minutes in, Silva started opening up a bit, not fully unleashing his arsenal but giving his foe something to think about. Midway through the round, Okami closed the distance and bulled Silva into the fence, but it was “The Spider” who did the bulk of the offensive work as he landed a few knees at close range. Okami responded by looking for the takedown, but when it came up empty, he pushed off and resumed the standup duel. In the final 30 seconds, Okami scored with a couple of punches, which prompted Silva to finish up the round with a jarring left kick to the head.

Silva came out fast in round two, with kicks to the leg and punches to the head. Okami weathered the storm initially, but as Silva dropped his hands, the champion dropped the challenger with a straight right. Okami got back to his feet, but a few moments later he was sent to the mat again with a right hand. This time, Silva knew Okami was hurt, and he finished the bout with a variety of strikes, forcing referee Herb Dean to intervene at 2:04 of the round.

With the win, the champion improves to 29-4; Okami falls to 27-6.

Chael Sonnen II – UFC 148 – 7/7/12
Result: Silva TKO2

The anticipation and animosity was unlike anything seen in recent history, but after six minutes and 55 seconds, Anderson “The Spider” Silva answered the pointed barbs of Chael Sonnen the only way he knows how, with the limbs that have led him to his 15th UFC win without a loss. And in the UFC 148 main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night, Silva left no questions, retaining his middleweight title for the tenth time with a second round TKO of his most heated rival, one that has chased him down since their epic first battle in 2010.

In that UFC 117 bout, Sonnen came perilously close to dethroning Silva before being submitted in the fifth and final round. This time, after nearly two years of trash talk, Sonnen looked to be on his way to an upset victory in the first round before the champ finished matters in round two, burying the hatchet in the process.

“Let’s show Brazil has manners,” said Silva. “I want everyone to applaud for Chael.
If you’d like to have a barbecue over my house, I’d love to have you.”

“They gave me the opportunity,” said a gracious Sonnen. “Nobody owes me anything. He’s a true champion, man. He got me with a good shot.”

With Sonnen pointing at Silva as the champion made his way to the Octagon and members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission keeping the two from having any physical contact before the opening bell, this felt like a fight dubbed by many as the biggest in UFC history.

Not surprisingly, the two declined to touch gloves, and after Silva missed with a looping left to start the bout, Sonnen rushed in and got the takedown with relative ease. The challenger immediately went on the offensive with thudding strikes to the head as he tried to push Silva to the fence. Silva had the presence of mind to avoid such a dilemma, but he still had no way to get back to his feet. As the crowd alternated chants of “Brazil” and “USA,” Sonnen swung a knockout blow at Silva, but came up short, with the champion throwing his leg up to look for a submission. Sonnen eluded danger immediately and put his hard hat back on as he pinned Silva and pounded away. With less than a minute to go, he got into the mount position, using whatever legal means he had to punish Silva until the end of the round.

Sonnen again rushed Silva to start round two. This time “The Spider” eluded the immediate takedown, but he was still pinned against the fence as Sonnen used knees and shirt strikes to open up a hole for the takedown. Instead, it was Silva who got loose, and while grabbing Sonnen’s shorts, he fired off his first effective strikes of the fight. Sonnen weathered the attack and shot for a takedown, but after Silva eluded the mat, the challenger missed a spinning backfist and hit the canvas. Silva flew in with a knee that landed flush on Sonnen’s chest. Stunned, Sonnen tried to survive under the resulting barrage of strikes, but Silva wasn’t going to let that happen, and referee Yves Lavigne halted the bout at 1:55 of the second.

“This sport is the best sport,” said Silva. “Me and Chael worked hard for all the people here. This is a sport, this is UFC.”