Sunday, April 11, 2010 | 2 a.m.
One headliner cruised. The other capsized.
That was the story Saturday at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Anderson Silva held on to his middleweight championship belt with a unanimous decision victory against Demian Maia, while B.J. Penn shockingly lost his lightweight title to Frankie Edgar.
“This is it,” Edgar said after the fight on the pay per view. “B.J. is the greatest lightweight ever and I just beat him. I just hope I can be half the champion he was.”
Edgar might also want to aspire to be a better champion than Silva, who drew the ire of fans and UFC President Dana White alike for his performance against Maia.
Silva clearly won the fight by dominating the first three rounds but did so with little class.
He spent most of the time taunting Maia by yelling at him, waving his arms and punching himself. After Silva took control early, he looked content not to fight anymore and kept running away from Maia in the octagon.
Maia, with a broken nose and swollen shut left eye, tried to attack late but Silva refused to fight back.
The crowd started to boo Silva and chanted for Maia. Silva’s actions also caused White to storm out of the arena.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in 10 years of being in this business,” White told reporters in his post-fight press conference. “It’s the first time I’ve ever walked out of a main event.”
Silva still won by scores of 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46. But Silva could have seemingly ended the fight at any moment.
Silva apologized to the fans through a translator in his post-fight interview in the octagon.
“I don’t know what got into me tonight,” Silva said. “I wasn’t as humble as I should have been.”
The co-main event between Penn and Edgar featured less controversy. For the first three rounds, it was a closely contested battle.
Edgar, however, appeared to have superior conditioning late and pounded Penn in the final two rounds. The judges gave the fight to Edgar unanimously with scores of 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47.
Penn hadn’t lost a lightweight fight in eight years. A Silva victory was supposed to set up a much-anticipated bout with Georges St. Pierre.
But White said Silva didn’t deserve that opportunity after the fight. Silva failed to provide much of an explanation.
“I don’t know what got into me,” Silva said. “I can guarantee you next time it won’t happen.”