The UFC broke new ground all night long in with its first show in Abu Dhabi and its first show outdoors. Until Anderson Silva hit the cage, at least. That's when Dana White should've told everyone, "You can leave if you want, we're going to show the champ's fights from UFC 90 and UFC 97."
Silva, clearly not challenged nor feeling threatened at all, by Demian Maia, danced, clowned and fooled around for the United Arab Emirates' royal family and the fans who paid up to $1,007. But he didn't do what the truly great fighters do: Go for the finish.
The champ cruised to a listless decision victory which had the very polite crowd exploding into boos at the end of the fourth round. Even White walked over to Silva's manager Ed Soares before the final round to express his displeasure. Silva (26-4, 11-0 UFC) defended his UFC middleweight title but probably lost some fans with his antics.
What's next? Who knows. Hopefully something that will interest Silva, who set a record for UFC title defenses with six in one reign and added to his record win streak, now at 11.
Maia looked rough at the end of the fight. He may have suffered a broken nose. His left eye was completely closed in the final round. But Maia still brought it, swinging for the fences. Silva was tired from playing most of the fight and did nothing in the final two minutes. He was even scolded by referee Dan Miragliotta to stop stalling and fooling around. A slightly active final round brought the crowd back a little bit but it's hard to convince anyone this was the way to intro MMA to a new fanbase.
Silva seemed to get the message, from either the crowd or White in the corner.
"Demian actually surprised me with some of his punches," Silva told UFC analyst Joe Rogan when asked why he coasted over the final three rounds. "I don’t know what got into me tonight. I wasn't as humble as I should've been. I can guarantee you it won't happen again."
That sounds great, but it's now happened three times. Silva hasn't been challenged in 11 UFC fights but two of the last four went the distance with little action. The fight at UFC 90 was very similar ending after three rounds when Patrick Cote blew out his knee. At UFC 97, White was livid when Silva did the same thing against Thales Leites. White said he wanted to put his head through a table during the fight and during the post fight, he said he was embarrassed.