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UFC 97 Recap: Silva and Leites disappoint, Shogun batters Liddell and much more

Disappointing would be an understatement to describe the action that took place in the main event of tonight’s UFC 97 card. The chorus of boos began in the first round and grew louder as the bout slowly crawled toward the finishing point.

Anderson Silva managed to retain his UFC middleweight championship with a unanimous decision victory over Thales Leites in a bout that was sure to do nothing for his “pound for pound” status.

Neither fighter showed much of a willingness to engage the other for any duration of time for the fights full five rounds. Doing a play-by-play breakdown on the bout would be painful so if you haven’t had a chance to see the fight you can rest assured that it was very forgettable at best. In the fifth round of the middleweight championship contest most fans at ringside were fed up and expressed their discontent with overwhelming chants of “Bull****” and “GSP”.

After it was all said and done Silva picked up the unanimous decision in a fight many were glad was over with scores of 49-46, 48-47, and 50-46. The victory tied separate records for the most consecutive wins and the most title defenses in the UFC for the dominant middleweight champion.

The lackluster middleweight championship match-up capped of the otherwise entertaining UFC 97: Redemption card which took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua didn’t have enough time to silence his critics about his recent endurance problems as he dropped Chuck Liddell with a left hook late in the first round and proceeded to batter the former UFC light heavyweight champion with an unforgiving series of hammerfists for the first round TKO victory. The two feared strikers traded shots early in the first before Shogun managed to drag Liddell to the canvas. Once there Shogun was able to work for a heel hook and briefly take Liddell’s back before the two stood back up for the bouts finish.

The win is sure to propel Shogun towards an eventual title shot at some point down the road in the UFC while it is unknown what the loss may mean for Liddell at this point. The defeat was the fourth in his last five bouts, with three of those losses coming by convincing knockout stoppages.

Other action of the night saw Cheick Kongo derailing Antoni Hardonk‘s recent win streak with a dominating first round ground and pound beatdown. Kongo was able to utilize his superior wrestling to rain down a series of brutal elbows and punches to force a halt to the heavyweight showdown.

Luiz Cane out-banged Steve Cantwell in an exciting fight that will push Cane closer to a title shot at light heavyweight along with Shogun. Cantwell had his moments during the fight but Cane’s more poweful strikes proved to be the difference in his unanimous decision victory.

Brian Stann ran into a wall in the form of a Krzysztof Soszynski kimura in the first round of his UFC debut.

On the undercard Nate Quarry beat Jason MacDonald bloody in the first round of their bout, Denis Kang got back on track, Mark Bocek looked impressive and much more.

A full list of the results from UFC 97: Redemption are listed below.

Anderson Silva def. Thales Leites via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 50-46)

Sam Stout def. Matt Wiman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Chuck Liddell via TKO – Round 1, 4:28

Krzysztof Soszynski def. Brian Stann via submission – Round 1, 3:53

Cheick Kongo def. Antoni Hardonk via TKO – Round 2, 2:29

Luiz Cane def. Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Denis Kang def. Xavier Foupa-Pokam via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Nate Quarry def. Jason MacDonald via TKO – Round 1, 2:27

Ed Herman def. David Loiseau via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Mark Bocek def. David Bielkheden via submission – Round 1, 4:57

T.J. Grant def. Ryo Chonan via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

Eliot Marshall def. Vinicius Magalhaes via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

  • damonkolt says:

    I can see how some people could get mad at Silva, but when Leites pulled the ‘turtle’ or the ‘dirty blonde’ what was he to do?? I will disagree with the assumption that Anderson wouldn’t engange, if fact if you go back and watch the fight, he pushed the action and was ready to bang but wasn’t stupid enough to get caught by an up kick. Leites did just what Kalib Barnes did in a different way. And to all the fans in the stadium, GSP won’t stand a chance against Anderson. GSP will not have a quickness advantage or have a chance to knock him out. GNPs only chance is that Silva’s visa would get revoked before going into the great northern.

  • Milliniar says:

    Krzysztof won via kimura not an armbar…..aside from that I feel that while i had no problems with the complete shutting down of Thales Leites by Silva i still feel he probably could’ve put him away had he fully engaged early on or went for the clinch. And as far as the UFC seemingly trying to get GSP vs Silva fight, while I like GSP i see it being like the GSP vs Penn 2, where the bigger fighter will win. GSP does pose a different threat than most people in middleweight but different doesn’t always mean better. And i would watch it just to see if GSP could prove me wrong.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    The fans weren’t chanting “Bullshit” , they were chanting ,” Why The Fuck Is Anderson Silva Allowed To Wipe Petroleum Jelly Off His Face And All Over His Upper Body?”

  • freebirdjd says:

    “Silva and Leites disappoint”? well maybe only Leites. How can people be mad with Silva, he is the champion by the way, and what does he have to prove to Leites? Leites got the chance of a lifetime to fight for a title and instead of coming out like he wanted it, he just sat back and waited for Silva to come to him. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? It’s not called “defending” the title for nothing; Leites was supposed to be a challenger. Silva has the job of defending Champion right now and probably wants to keep it, just like all of you want to keep your jobs. He is not going to be reckless in his work just because the (most of the times drunk) fans want more action and more blood. I understand the fans ultimately pay the fighters, but wouldn’t the fans like to see true skill prevail instead of some street brawl? Maybe not, but I know I don’t mind. The bottom line is that it’s kind of like the game kids play called “King of the Hill”. You fight to get to the top, but once you are on top you don’t fight your way back down. You defend the top against people fighting to get up there. Leites had a chance to be the champion but didn’t really try to get to the top of the hill; can we blame Silva for that?

  • Bad Monkey says:

    The one question I kept asking myself during the 4th and 5th rounds of that fight was: ‘Does Anderson Silva care anymore?’

  • Ft. Dub says:

    Silva was the biggest disappointment of the night. Even though it was lame, you can’t blame Leites for not engaging with the best stand-up artist in the game, but what is Silva’s excuse? You can’t be P4P if you can only win against guys who play into your hands. Even when Leites would try to engage with punches (which was few and far between) Silva wouldn’t stand and bang, he simply backed out and circled.

    Simply put, Silva didn’t look like someone who deserves the P4P ranking. He’s looking more and more one dimensional by the fight.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    personally think it has been 2 very very bad match up decisions by the ufc for anderson silvas last 2 fights. having said that tho, why should silva only look good when fighting someone who wants to go after him and bang it out. isnt it andersons job to win fights regardless of who the opponent is?
    whatever, i dont blame him as much as the last fight, but he is losing marketability and credibility at a fast pace.

  • Revenge88 says:

    Silva = Overrated.

  • screwface says:

    were people mad at nate quarry when calib starnes ran from him? no . how can any1 be mad at silva, hes the champ, leites obviously didnt want to be in that cage. he had the opportunity of a lifetime and blew it. he didnt want the belt that much was obvious. this wasnt just a regular fight people. silva did what he could with an opponent who refused to engage. silva took no damage and still managed to damage his opponent. blaming silva is ludicrous. but styles make fights, i think that was a good window in what the evans machida fight may end up looking like.

    i love chuck, i still think he has good performances left in him. shogun just came to fight, and he looked way better then his last fights. that division is just somewhat stacked now. i know dana put his foot in his mouth and said chuck needs to impress so no choice but to backup his mouth with action and give chuck the boot. but i really hope chuck takes it somewhere else. id still watch him fight. i know thats a lot of losses, but the man takes chances to put on a good show and for that i respect him win or lose. just hit the ab roller and turn it around :p

    still an overall boring ufc, and the exact reason im happy to see strikeforce back in the game. not looking so bad now is it. maybe not the best of the best but they still know how to make entertaining matchups.

  • PlagueAngel says:

    I think people were furious when starnes ran away from Quarry. I also think that is the reason why he lost his job in the UFC. About Silvia, I think people expect more from him especially since he might leave MMA in a few matches to do boxing. Do we want to remember his legacy of pinpoint destruction or clowning/toying around? I also believe Leites blew his chance and I hope he is ready for criticism.

    On another side note, watching the Tito Ortiz pathetic performance against Machida. Did anyone hear Ortiz scream “F*ck” on the top of his lungs after the fight? That is really a gem of a memory!

  • AK47 says:

    This was nothing like the Starnes fight. Leites ran his game plan, he tried to take Silva down over and over, through some pretty good kicks and even won one round (or tied one round, according to one judge). He made a mistake in not engaging more, especially early in the fight when he would have had an easier time taking Silva down, but we can hardly blame him for not standing in front of Silva and trying to go toe to toe with one of the best MMA strikers in the world.

    Silva takes his half of the blame, too. He had just as many chances to take the fight to his opponent, and he blew it. Sure, he won the decision, but you nobody is going to rank you #1 P4P for just doing enough to get the win. With the Cote fight, I disagreed with the criticism; at the time I thought Silva was just being careful and avoiding the KO. This fight was different, Leites doesn’t have the striking power that Cote did, and he was still dancing around the cage like he was scared he might get hit. If this is the way he wants to fight, fine, but it’s not going to earn my cash in the future.

  • Rich S. says:

    Just want to start by saying, anyone who thinks Silva is overrated.. is just wrong.. there’s no opinion there.. it’s a fact that he’s just that good..

    Tell me, have you EVER seen Nate Marquardt taken out like that? Ever? no.
    What about Hendo? no.
    and Franklin? definitely not.

    Anderson has done what no one else in the world could do to some guys..

    So he has one slow fight in his last 10 and he’s overrated now? come on..

    Now, Second, it looks like we may have the Rua from PRIDE back now.. which is devistating news for the LHW division..

  • Cathedron says:

    Why is no one talking about Cung Le appearing during a UFC telecast? It’s not like they really needed him to promote that movie. The UFC has never done something that nice for a top star of a rival promotion. The amicable relationship between the UFC and Strikeforce opens up some interesting possibilities… like maybe giving Anderson Silva and Cung Le a decent challenge.

    This really comes down to matchmaking or the lack thereof. If they keep throwing one trick ponies at Silva, we’re going to keep getting bad fights. His last two fights have been against grossly undeserving opponents who have ONE way to win and they build their entire game around it. They beat people who are far better than they are by simply trying one thing over and over until it catches them. What’s Silva to do? He’d have to be a little cautious. One mistake and some scrub takes his belt. He needs real challengers and there just aren’t any left at 185. Every legit contender has resulted in a good fight, but they’re running out. I say, bring in Wandy for a Silva vs Silva title fight, let GSP move up and go for two titles, or make Rua cut to a more natural 185 as soon as possible. Not a lot of options left.

    Dana White and Joe Silva are ruining Anderson Silva’s legacy by wasting him in a the weakest division. Either dig up some talent somehow or let him move up a weight class and we’ll see how good he really is.

  • Chipp says:


    Good post, I’m w/ ya.

  • tyler says:

    The “amicable relationship” between the UFC and Strikeforce as you put it died when Scott Coker aquired the assets from Pro Elite.

    That didn’t sit well with Zuffa hence the counter programming of their first Showtime card by replaying UFC 94.

  • Ft. Dub says:

    Whoever said that Joe SIlva and Dana White are more to blame than anyone are right on the money. Spider’s ability to carry a PPV just disappeared. I was hyping the fight to non-MMA die hards watching with me and they all basically said after that they have ZERO interest in seeing Spider again. The UFC isn’t putting him in position to look like the P4P champ they claim he is.

  • FrankW says:

    Silva was obviously not looking to finish or he would have engaged Lietes.He engaged Rich Franklin twice. Maybe they were friends and and he doesn’t like to hurt Brazilians or something along those lines.Either way he was taunting the guy and punching him in the leg rather than the body or head.
    I think no matter the opponent he can do the samething if he doesnt want to engage.
    I put my money on it that GSP will be able to take him down and GNP him so he gets serious about ending the fight or taking damage.

  • perfecto says:

    I knew Leites had no business going for the title but damn that was a very embarrasing fight for both of them. One could say that Leites pussed out and just didnt want to fight and on the other hand one could say the Silva was scarred to go on the ground. As already stated Silva does need to be smart and stay in control so he can keep his belt but at some point he has to go to the ground it is MMA and if he cant beat a JJ guy on the ground then its obvious where his weakness is. And yes GSP is the answer to the reign of Silva. Silva has shown time and again that his ground game is not great it is ok but GSP DOMINATES so called great wreslters and JJ guys on the ground. There is always that chance Silva will knock him out but GSP doesnt let himself get hit to often. GSP is MORE well rounded. Yes Silva has better striking but GSP is not that far off.

  • BigDave says:

    Two things i need to say about last nights card:

    1. Chuck thanks for the memories now retire before you suffer some irriversable brain damage.

    2. Can everyone finally take there heads out of there butts and realize that GSP is far and away the top fighter on the planet. In my opinion Silva isnt even in the top 3 anymore because of the last two fights where he seem to afraid to engage anyone even guys he should destroy.

    Right now my top five P4P are :

    1. GSP
    2. Fedor
    3. Machida
    4. Faber
    5. Silva

  • Bullylover says:

    The only guy i see that is capable of beating silva who hasn’t already fought him is maia. However compared to Silva he’s a one trick pony. if Maia doesn’t sub him quick in the beging of the 1st 2 rds then tit’ll look pretty much like this. A Gsp/Silva fight does sound pretty entertaing though

  • Silly Mo says:

    I didn’t see the fight…but I do agree with those that said Silva was defending a title and therefore he was justified in not taking too many chances. Styles make fights and I think that a forreal wrestler or somebody with great wrestling can be the one to beat Silva. GSP might have good enough wrestling but I don’t think he has a good enough chin. All that grease on his body ain’t going to matter when Anderson puts his 10 ounce on his chin.

    But how come nobody ever mentions Rashad Evans as one of the top pound for pound fighters. He is about 3 good fights away from being one of the top 3 let alone the top 5. He’s one of the smartest fighters out there. Cocky sure…..but so were a lot of great fighters.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    The best P4P fighter can’t finish that guy?. Silva did disappoint, he wouldn’t engage and was unwilling to go for the kill for most of the fight. Showboat as much as you like Silva but that just makes people resent you. It was the worst main event I have ever seen.
    Leites made a fool of himself.
    Shogun looked good and Lidell didn’t.

    P.S. Does Fedor lose before you call him best P4P, whatever that means anyway, He has never really been beaten and has fought about 10 UFC, Pride and K1champs, the 3 biggest martial arts orgs in the world. GSP is a cheat who has beaten 3, 1 of them being Serra, Silva has beaten a Pancrase champ, a Pride champ and a UFC champ. The idea that Fedor isn’t considered the best fighter in the world is a joke. I mean what does he have to do!!!? He just beat Arlovski and Sylvia in the first rd by TKO and KO for crying out loud. Oh thats right he isn’t in the UFC…that’s why and hasn’t beaten fighters in the class of Leben, Cote or Serra. Oh and he only puts “breathing technique” on his face. I mean come on, the officials were warned about it and then caught them doing it!. But people on this forum say ” …he would have won anyway…”. HE CHEATED, or at least his corner man did and more than once. GSP= Greasy Shouldered Person. He will always be tainted in my veiw and his 2nd victory over Penn should be taken from his record.

  • Stan says:

    “Dana White and Joe Silva are ruining Anderson Silva’s legacy by wasting him in a the weakest division. Either dig up some talent somehow or let him move up a weight class and we’ll see how good he really is.”

    This was my thought as well. Cote and Leites are clearly not in Silva’s league… nor was James Irvin. It’s been over a year since his fight with Henderson, and that was his last opponent that really deserved to be billed as a main event attraction. Main events really should have two main-event fighters… not one super star and someone still building their name.

    Leites was a horrible choice for this fight. Machida, who fights an even more defensive counterstriking style than Silva, was given Thiago Silva who was known to be one to plod straight forward and try to knock someone out… a perfect opponent to make a counter puncher look good. There aren’t enough Chris Lebens around a middle weight to make Silva look like a brutal killing machine like he did 2 years ago.

  • cere says:

    Leites was the disappointment of the night. Anderson did what he could, but he is not an idiot. A world class Jui-Jitsu fighters wants to go to the ground, you generally do not oblige. If Leites wanted the fight on the ground, he is responsible to take it to the ground. This does not mean repeatedly laying on the ground lie a dog in heat and expect Silva to just jump into your guard. That would be stupid. Yet, Leites did so, over and over and over again.

    As far as the vaseline goes, how the hell GSP got called a cheater for what happened with Penn, and yet White, the UFC and any one else official make no mentions of Anderson repeatedly wiping his face and then his cheated, shoulders and back. It wasn’t even subtle. But, is there an actual rule that says a fighter cannot touch his own face during the fight? If not, then he didn’t break any rules.

  • perfecto says:

    I cant believe everyone crys about vaseline. Its doesnt make you more slippery than your sweat if anything it actually sheds the sweat away and may give someone a better grip. And we all know both GSP and Silva would still have won there fights anyway vaseline was no deciding factor.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “And we all know both GSP and Silva would still have won there fights anyway vaseline was no deciding factor.”

    Yeah anyone who cheats and then wins shouldn’t be called for cheating…cuz they would have won anyway right?.

  • perfecto says:

    Hell yeah and I’m sure in the last ten years more people have done this then just these two. The only reason GSP gets so much flak is because Penn is a little F N cry baby bitch.


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