LAS VEGAS — For several rounds, it looked as if Anderson Silva might pull off the storybook finish in what he said was probably his final UFC fight.
Then, reality, and Uriah Hall, struck.
Hall stopped Silva with a fourth-round knockout, landing a right that dropped the former middleweight champion and then finished him on the ground. Referee Herb Dean pulled Hall off at 1:24 of the first.
Immediately, Hall went down on all fours in front of Silva in a show of respect for one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s history.
Silva looked good early and seemed to be getting the better of Hall, particularly with his kicks. Hall, though, dropped Silva with a right over the top and probably would have ended it late in the third had the bell not rung and saved Silva.
When the fourth round began, Silva seemed to be recovered, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who was inspired to get into MMA by Silva, watched from cageside and stood and applauded once Silva left the Octagon. Silva lingered in the cage for quite a while after the fight, first on his knees in the center and then standing and looking around.
When he left, Adesanya arose from his seat and gave him a standing ovation.
Silva just didn’t have enough left in the tank to win a fight that seemed there for him to win. But his final stretch won’t do anything to erase the great run of 16 consecutive wins he had from 2006 through 2012.
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