IF you're a fan of mixed martial arts, then Saturday, July 19 (Sunday, July 20 in Manila) was a great day because the debuting MMA promotion Affliction unleashed its first pay-per-view, Affliction: Banned
, while the reigning MMA promotion, Ultimate Fighting Championship
, countered this challenge by quickly putting together the UFC Fight Night 14 card, which it showed for free on Spike TV on the same day.
The Affliction: Banned main event featured the man many MMA aficionados consider the best heavyweight fighter and arguably the best MMA fighter of all time, Russia's legendary Fedor Emelianenko
. Going up against him was the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, with the winner becoming the first World Alliance of Mixed Martial arts heavyweight champ. This was the icing on what was a great card that included Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Pedro Rizzo, Matt Lindland, Renato Sobral, and one of my all-time faves, Vitor Belfort.
Meanwhile, the main event for UFC Fight Night 14 was the UFC's main star and the man being touted as the current best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world, Anderson Silva
, the UFC middleweight champion, who was making his debut in the light heavyweight division. I'm a huge Silva fan, and this guy has been dominant in the UFC middleweight division, but even though I felt he would win against James Irvin (best known for knocking out Houston Alexander in eight seconds), I have to admit I was wondering how wise it was for Silva to accept a bout in a higher weight class on short notice.
Well, Silva proved critics wrong when he took just 61 seconds to beat Irvin. After catching a kick from Irvin, Silva uncorked a straight right that practically knocked out The Sandman. Silva then quickly followed it up with a brutal ground and pound to finish the fight.
Pretty impressive, particularly if you saw that nasty cut under Irvin's right eye after this fight.
As much of a Silva fan as I am, however, what Fedor did was more impressive -- in fact, downright unbelievable. I've never liked Tim Sylvia, but give credit where credit is due, he's one of the best heavyweights and was a two-time UFC champ.
So you can imagine how shocking it was to see Fedor immediately stunning Tim with hard punches, taking his back, and making the big man tap out to a rear naked choke.
All in just 36 seconds.
It's hard to see that performance and not be awed. Even the UFC head honcho Dana White, who has consistently belittled Fedor because he says the Russian hasn't fought a quality fighter in years (Fedor was the Pride FC heavyweight champ from 2003 until it closed in 2007. UFC had bought its former rival, and it seemed that the UFC would be bringing in Fedor but talks bogged down.), had to admit he was impressed
, though he still insisted Silva was the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter today.
With that victory, people are now waiting for a Fedor-Randy Couture fight -- Randy was there at Affliction: Banned, and went in the ring after Fedor said he would like to fight Randy next. Thing is, Randy is still locked in a contract dispute with UFC, and though he has resigned from the UFC, he is still technically the UFC heavyweight champion, though Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is the interim heavyweight champion (Nogueira, by the way, was the Pride FC heavyweight champ from 2001 to 2003, before he was dethroned by, you guessed it, Fedor). Randy has said that the only person that would make sense for him to fight is Fedor -- that's one of the reasons he wanted to leave the UFC -- but this whole mess is convoluted right now.
Back in the day, MMA had no weight classes, and you could settle who was the better fighter by actually having Fedor and Anderson Silva go at it. The thing is, Silva is a middleweight who now plans to go up and down weight classes to fight light heavyweights while defending the middleweight championship. Fedor is a heavyweight. Thus the need to talk about the pound-for-pound best MMA fighter.
How about you, who do you think is the best, Fedor or Anderson Silva? Or do you believe someone else is the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter?
Whatever may be the case, right now the indisputable fact is that both Fedor and Anderson Silva are simply lording it over in their respective divisions, and are simply competing on a different level.