Wanderlei Silva survived big kicks from Cung Le to get a second-round TKO win at UFC 139 in San Jose on Saturday.
In the first round, Silva became aggressive first, throwing a series of punches then moving back to create distance again. Le stuck with his trademark kicks, wobbling Silva with a kick and then a spinning backfist. He threw plenty of 360 kicks, but Silva still came in when he could and opened a cut on Le's face. He followed up with some kicks of his own, wobbling Le.
This same back and forth continued in the second round. Le threw every kind of kick that can be imagined, including an axe kick and a wheel kick. Silva took over in the final minute, wobbling Silva with a head kick and a right hand. Then Silva grabbed Le in a headlock, and landed several knees to Le's face. He then followed Le to the ground, and finished with ground and pound at 4:49 in the second round.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan disagreed with the stoppage, saying that Le was hurt but going for a takedown when on the ground. Le's face showed plenty of damage after the bout, as his nose was disfigured and his face was bloody and swollen.
Silva was emotional in the win. He said this past year was tough, but he had to return to hard work with his team to get back to his vintage form.
This was a landmark fight for both men. Silva, who has a long career that spans Pride and the UFC, appeared to be on the edge of retirement after a punishing loss to Chris Leben. For Le, it was his first bout in the UFC after being a pioneer fighter for Strikeforce.
Now, Silva appears rejuvenated. Le was impressive for much of the fight, but clearly has work to do.