Silva puts on another snoozer

By the fourth round of his title defence against Demian Maia, Anderson Silva had already turned the...

By the fourth round of his title defence against Demian Maia, Anderson Silva had already turned the polite Abu Dhabi audience against him. (UFC photo)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

For a debut show in a new market, UFC 112 was coasting along nicely until middleweight champion Anderson (The Spider) Silva stepped into the cage for the main event.

By the fourth round of his title defence against Demian Maia, Silva (26-4) had already turned the polite Abu Dhabi audience against him.

Silva started out strong, however, displaying his varied and creative striking arsenal. As the fight continued, the middleweight champion began taunting Maia (12-2) by dancing around and putting his hands on his hips as if to say, "Come on and hit me." He could even be seen yelling at his opponent for not engaging.

Clearly outmatched on the feet, Maia looked hesitant and was unable to secure a takedown. As a result, he took some serious punishment and came close to getting finished.

To many watching the fight, it appeared as though Silva could have put his opponent away at any time. Instead, in a move reminiscent of his much chastised performance against Thales Leites at UFC 97, Silva seemed less interested in winning and more concerned with toying with his prey.

In the later rounds, Silva began clowning around by continually running in circles and making odd physical gestures. He also became even more conservative with his striking. Clearly frustrated, Maia finally moved forward to engage. However, despite taunting Maia for not being aggressive earlier in the fight, Silva retreated instead of meeting him head on.

As they entered the final round, Maia's left eye had swollen shut and blood was pouring from his nose. As the crowd chanted his name, Maia managed his best offence of the bout, catching Silva with a right-hook and then charging after him. However, Silva fled to avoid damage as the bout came to an end.

Needless to say, this wasn't the type of performance fans want to see from arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. However, this isn't too surprising, as Silva has received harsh criticism for three of his last four fights. With the exception of his stunning knockout victory over Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, he's been difficult to watch lately. Though Maia deserves his fair share of the blame, he at least attempted to make the bout interesting in the fifth round.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani of FanHouse, UFC president Dana White admitted he was embarrassed by Silva's performance and left during the fourth round. Following each title fight, White puts the belt around the waist of the champion. However, this time he opted instead to hand the strap to Silva's manager Ed Soares saying, "You put it on him. I'm not doing it."

With yet another boring performance under his belt, some fans are less likely to pay to see Silva fight. So what's next for the middleweight champion?

Prior to UFC 112, Silva said he would make the cut to 170 pounds to fight welterweight titleholder Georges (Rush) St. Pierre. While there's no doubt that many want to see two of the best go at it, White shot the idea down at the UFC 112 post-fight press conference.

Vitor (The Phenom) Belfort is perhaps the only middleweight fighter who can challenge Silva on the feet. Unfortunately, Belfort (19-8) is still nursing an injured shoulder.

Chael Sonnen earned a crack at the title with his dominant victory over Nate (The Great) Marquardt at UFC 109. Sonnen (24-10-1) is also one of the best talkers in MMA and has publically criticized Silva on many occasions. Though a fight with Sonnen makes a lot of sense, the UFC brass may be reluctant to offer Silva a fight at middleweight since he hasn't impressed at 185 pounds since his submission win over Dan (Hendo) Henderson at UFC 82.

The time feels right for Silva to return to the light-heavyweight division.

EDGAR SHOCKS THE WORLD

In one of the biggest upsets in recent MMA history, Frankie (The Answer) Edgar earned a unanimous-decision victory over B.J. (The Prodigy) Penn to capture the UFC lightweight championship.

By staying loose and unpredictable on the feet, Edgar (12-1) was able to stick and move, chipping away at Penn (15-6-1). As the bout entered the later rounds, the momentum had shifted to Edgar's corner and Penn appeared tired and bruised.

Though Penn landed the harder shots earlier in the fight, Edgar's game plan of remaining more active and simply out-working his opponent was enough to sway the judges in his favour.

With the lightweight title around his waist, now is a good time for Edgar to try to avenge his loss to Gray (The Bully) Maynard.

Full UFC 112 results

Jon Madsen def. Mostapha Al-Turk by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Paul Kelly def. Matt Veach by second-round submission (Guillotine choke)

DaMarques Johnson def. Brad Blackburn by third-round TKO

Ricky Story def. Nick Osipczak by split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Phil Davis def. Alexander Gustafsson by first-round submission (Anaconda choke)

Mark Munoz def. Kendall Grove by second-round TKO

Rafael dos Anjos def. Terry Etim by second-round submission (Armbar)

Matt Hughes def. Renzo Gracie by third-round TKO

Frankie Edgar def. B.J. Penn by unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 49-46)

Anderson Silva def. Demian Maia by unanimous decision (No scores announced)


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