They both pledged to take to the center of the cage, plant their feet and deliver fireworks and that’s exactly what Chris Leben and Wanderlei Silva did tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two middleweights met in the UFC 132 co-main event and it was Leben who stood standing when all was said and done. “The Crippler” needed less than thirty seconds to dispatch of the revered Pride FC legend, beginning the end of the “The Axe Murderer’s” night with a hard left hook.
“I can’t believe it’s real,” Leben said of his victory. “Holy s**t.”
Silva came out of the gates hot, wading in with a vintage tornado of punches, a few of which clipped Leben and hurt him. This is what Leben said in his post-fight interview was the early turning point of the fight: Silva hurt him, which caused him essentially to slide into berserker mode. Once the power shots landed, Leben planted his feet and returned fire, wobbling Silva with a left hook.
From there, Silva grabbed the clinch, but it only aided Leben’s assault, as he used the position to fire off a series of hard uppercuts which dropped Silva to the mat. The follow up left hands on the ground were more than enough to seal the victory for Leben, who bounces back from a disappointing, gummy bear-fueled loss to Brian Stann.
Leben improves to 25-7 with the victory, while Silva falls to 33-10-1. With this being his sixth loss in eight fights, Silva will likely begin hearing calls for his retirement.
Showing a great deal of respect for his opponent, Leben said post-fight, “Wanderlei, I love you, you are my hero. Thank you for honoring me with this fight.”