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Home » TV Review: UFC 64: Unstoppable – Anderson Silva Title Win Not Unexpected, But Not Easily Accepted

TV Review: UFC 64: Unstoppable – Anderson Silva Title Win Not Unexpected, But Not Easily Accepted

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At Saturday night's UFC 64: Unstoppable pay-per-view event, Anderson Silva expertly worked a Muay Thai clinch and let loose with lethal knees to register a first-round TKO win over Rich Franklin to become the new UFC middleweight champion.

His win was decisive and destructive, and it reverberated profoundly throughout the foundation of the middleweight division, and even more so, throughout the foundation of fans that had high hopes for their favorite champion.  There were rumblings amongst the UFC faithful that this newcomer could shake things up, but until they witnessed the devastating end to Rich Franklin, I don't think anybody really believed it could happen.

But it did.

You could feel the weight of the loss in the building immediately. While Anderson was gracious in his win, the result weighed heavily on the crowd.  What's devastating about the loss is that Rich Franklin was more that just the middleweight titleholder. He was the quintessential champion: smart, well-spoken, handsome, and gentlemanly. Everything a fan could ask for.

For the UFC, from a public relations point of view, Rich Franklin meant new fans.  New fans flocking to a booming new sport.  New fans who haven't a clue who or what Anderson Silva represents. He remains an enigma to fans. A giant killer with only one fight in the UFC that lasted 49 seconds, which despite the highlight reel knock-out of Ultimate Fighter alumnus Chris Leben was not enough to suss him out as a fighter. Also, he is Brazilian and speaks through a translator, another barrier to communicating with the predominantly North American fan base.

Anderson's win will please the hardcore fans, though. He is a superb technician, with lethal Muay Thai skills, which he's already displayed, and Brazilian black belt jiu-jitsu skills from a highly respected school, which he's yet to unveil to UFC fans.

Some will speculate that Anderson will not be able to draw fans like Rich Franklin could. Perhaps. But give fans some credit. While personality can be persuasive, nothing beats a good fight. And you didn't have to be hardcore to understand that Anderson put on a good fight.

Although fans were quiet in their response, they took everything in. Especially, the new fans brought into the game by UFC stars the likes of Rich Franklin. While the UFC markets its fight cards as events, MMA (mixed martial arts) is after all a sport. A sport with athletes who bring with them an arsenal of techniques. On Saturday night, fans saw their champion taken down by a new fighter with potent techniques.

In the end, after all the marketing machine build-up of fighters' personalities is left by the side of the octagon, good fighters with effective technical skills are what make a good fight. For UFC 64, fans were introduced to a new, good fighter.

Chalk one up for the good fights, even though the other guy won.

Other UFC 64 Results
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sean Sherk vs. Kenny Florian – Lightweight Title Match
Sean Sherk wins by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-48)

Jon Fitch vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Jon Fitch wins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Carmelo Marrero vs. Cheick Kongo
Carmelo Marrero wins a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Spencer Fisher vs. Dan Lauzon
Spencer Fisher wins by TKO at 4:38 of the first round.

Preliminary Bouts

Keith Jardine vs. Mike Nickels
Bout was cancelled due to injury to Mike Nickels.

Yushin Okami vs. Kalib Starnes
Yushin Okami wins by TKO (strikes from the back) at 1:40 of the third round.

Clayton Guida vs. Justin James
Clayton Guida wins by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:42 of the second round.

Junior Assuncao vs. Kurt Pellegrino
Kurt Pellegrino wins by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:04 of the first round.

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About Rick Behnke

  • UFCFanNY

    Franklin: Everything a fan can ask for? Silva: Publicity nightmare? You are clearly one of the burgeoning fans piling onto the UFC bandwagon. Which is okay. Hopefully this won’t be a passing fad and you’ll grow to become a more educated MMA fan. Royce Gracie brought the UFC to the public’s attention. He is now a super-legend. He was Brazillian, spoke no English, he was neither handsome nor well-spoken. He’s still not. Just like Silva. Secondly, Franklin, although likeable, is a member of the Militich camp which owns the heavyweight and welterweight belt and, until it was taken out of circulation, the lightweight belt. Any real MMA fan knows that, while superbly skilled, the Militich boys are a cocky bunch and are so closely aligned with UFC owner Dana White as to raise the spectre of corruption. Not unlike wathing the Yankees lose, most hardcore and even moderate fans were jubilant to see Franklin taken out with surgical precision. If anything, Silva’s “upset” win makes us even more anxious to see if St. Pierre and Monson can’t take down the remainder of the Militich empire.

  • http://www.ultimatefightingfan.blogspot.com Rick

    UFCFanNY:

    Thanks for your comment. You make my point.

    New fans enamored with UFC poster boy Rich Franklin don’t quite know what to make of Anderson Silva. They found the defeat of their champion hard to accept. But that’s only because of how they arrived at being fans. With UFC 64, they got an MMA education watching Anderson fight. I don’t think any of them will ever question what a Muay Thai clinch is, or how it is executed to devastating effect. The more top-notch fighters the UFC can bring into the fold, the stronger the knowledge base of the new fans — and there are hordes of them, yes, coming fresh out The Ultimate Fighter TV show — and the more the “marketing machine” can be toned down. Yes, we all enjoy the hype surrounding an MMA event, but knowledgeable fans watch for the “fight,” not the hyped “event.”

    I think the changing of the guard was a good thing for UFC fans and came at the right time. Most of the new UFC fans know Rich Franklin from his coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter. And regardless of how hardcore an MMA fan you might be, you have to acknowledge the influential effect The Ultimate Fighter TV show has had on bringing the UFC and MMA into the mainstream. There are hordes of new fans who came to the sport in this way. In fact, I’m one of them. These fans just saw another champion come to the fore — one that they’ve come to know from his fighting results, not from his television appearances. That’s a big difference. And I think a good one.

    And yes, Royce Gracie is a legend. He brought attention to the UFC, especially in the pre-sanctioned, “no holds barred” era. Clearly, UFC fighters owe Royce a debt for making jiu-jitsu an integral part of the sport. Although, I have to say that while he was in the same boat as Anderson Silva is in now as far as language, his English seems pretty passable right now. My point about language, is that to fans who were brought into the sport by means other than just the appreciation of fighting skills, language barriers can create distance. Fans are now processing that, and things are changing.

    I think the UFC underwent a huge growth spurt after The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale between Griffin and Bonnar. It was a TV concept that got them here, but it’s the fighters that will keep them here.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Rick

  • UFCFanNY

    Can we expect more UFC Blog, Rick? If (hopefully) yes, then I’ll add you to my RSS feed.

  • http://www.ultimatefightingfan.blogspot.com Rick

    This is the first UFC event piece that I’ve written. So far I’ve been writing episode recaps of The Ultimate Fighter 4. (What can I say, it’s my roots!)

    I intend to write more UFC pieces — analysis from a fan perspective. I also write more MMA news-oriented items on my blog Ultimate Fighting Fan.

    Rick

  • Chris

    Who is this guy kidding? Every real MMA fan was cheering for Silva. He is a humble, greatful champ with unreal skills, how could you cheer against him? Anyone who had seen Silva’s full body of work knew that this fight would be a joke; he will be the champ for a long time to come.

  • http://www.ultimatefightingfan.blogspot.com Rick

    Thanks for your comment Chris. Again, you make my point.

    Most new UFC fans only knew of Anderson Silva from his fight with Chris Leben, and were stunned by his victory over Rich Franklin. They had cheered for the fighter they knew best, but were hushed by a fighter they hardly knew.

    The win wasn’t unexpected by knowledgeable fans, but it was not easily accepted by fans whose MMA knowledge was most likely primarily fed by The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) TV show and the UFC marketing machine.

    The best fighter won, not the one most well known to fans — in particular TUF/new fans.

    Though as I said, after the huge growth in UFC popularity over the past few years, especially after the Griffin-Bonnar fight, fans are starting to broaden their knowledge base. And this is a good thing.

    Hopefully, if the trend continues, fans won’t be so shocked by a clear win, by the best fighter on that night.

    Rick

  • nugget

    fans aren’t going anywhere with the current Welterweight action.

    You got Rush vs. M. Hughes and then Diego Sanchez as the next contender in line. Also let’s not forget up-and-comer Jon fitch. The UFC is evolving and getting better.

  • nugget

    also, Monson will not win. St. Pierre, however, will. the militech era is over.