Further troubling for Florian was that Penn seemed to be in much better shape, cardio-wise, at the start of Round 4. It wasn’t long before Penn used that killer jiu-jitsu to wrap in an unstoppable choke and further cement his status as the top dog at lightweight. Coming off a tough loss to Georges St-Pierre and the embarrassment of Greasegate afterward, Penn had more serious questions to answer than Silva did last night. He rose to the challenge admirably and, at a young 30 years of age, can now return to claiming his legacy as an unstoppable force in the lightweight division.
But the night was Silva’s. He took a tough fight, outside his weight class, against a man who was going to show the Spider aggression for the first time in a long time. Silva was rewarded with a hostile crowd, who backed Griffin... right up until the opening bell, when it became clear that although Griffin was not out of his league, Silva is just a world apart.
While Silva’s bobbing, weaving, and taunting seemed superfluous against Leites — you can’t dodge what’s not being thrown — here the showmanship accentuated a flawless performance. Time and again, Griffin would come in, catch nothing but air on a one-two combination, and proceed to eat a counter by Silva. By the third knockdown (none of which were followed up by Silva, as if to say “get up, I’ve got a show to put on”) Griffin knew it wasn’t his night. Frustrated either at Silva or himself, or perhaps wanting to get treatment ASAP on his dislocated jaw, Griffin left the cage immediately. It was a rare out-of-character showing from a man known for a fighter’s heart.
For Silva, a title defense is next against the winner of Demian Maia, and Nate Marquardt, and assuming he runs his streak to 11, the UFC world is his oyster: superfights against GSP at 185 or Lyoto Machida at 205 are both a possibility.
The only certainty for Anderson Silva’s career is this: nobody again will make the mistake of criticizing him for a silly thing like the style of his dominance.