by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Anderson Silva defended his middleweight title for the sixth time on Saturday at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, but he may not have gained many fans following a baffling performance against Demain Maia in which he lacked to engage any real offense after the first two rounds.
It was evident early on that Maia was in no man’s land when it came to standing up with Silva. The champion toyed with Maia at every turn, landing good punches, and a devastating knee strike that rattled the brain of his fellow Brazilian.
Like watching Muhammed Ali in boxing so many years ago, Silva continuously pawed at Maia while playing to the crowd and begging his opponent to engage with him. It was after the second round when things started to get strange.
Instead of motioning Maia in as he did early on, Silva basically circled and avoided anything from his opponent, but never went after him with any kind of real offense. Similar to the fight with Thales Leites, Silva knew the ground was where his opponent wanted to be, so he did anything he could to avoid that aspect of the fight.
As the rounds moved on, the crowd in Abu Dhabi voiced their disapproval of Silva’s antics, booing him loudly and chants started not only for Demain Maia, but for UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who sat cageside for the fight.
The judges gave the nod to Silva, who definitely won the fight, but didn’t win over any critics with the baffling performance.
“Demain actually surprised me with some of his punches, and I apologize to everybody,” said Silva following the fight. “I don’t know what got into me tonight, I wasn’t as humble as I should have been, and it was just the ring rust and a little bit of everything. I’m really sorry to all you guys. I can guarantee you next time it won’t happen.”
The last time Silva was backed into a corner like this after a questionable performance, he obliterated Forrest Griffin in less than five minutes when they met at 205 pounds.
Can Silva recapture that same spirit in his next fight?
All night long, UFC commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg teased at a potential fight at 170 pounds between Silva and champion Georges St-Pierre.
That could the answer for whatever seems to be ailing Anderson Silva, but at the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White didn’t sound too thrilled with the prospect of that fight following Silva’s performance against Maia.