5 most vicious Anderson Silva knockouts in the UFC
Anderson Silva, the consensus greatest middleweight in UFC history, is among the most prolific finishers in combat sports. At his peak, Silva was making light work of his opponents across his gold-laden 16-fight win streak, which cemented his status as one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the famed octagon.
'The Spider' was renowned for his finishing ability, with 14 stoppage victories under his belt in the UFC. The Brazilian still holds the record for most finishes in title fights in promotional history.
Here are the five most vicious Anderson Silva knockouts in the UFC.
#5. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben – UFC Fight Night 5
Anderson Silva accrued a stellar professional record on the regional MMA circuits in Brazil, Japan and England before signing with the UFC in 2006. In his promotional debut, Silva squared off against Chris Leben in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 5 in Las Vegas.
Right from the get-go, Silva's speed and accuracy was too much for Leben to deal with. Such high-level striking was non-existent in the promotion at the time, and the Brazilian was making his opponent look rather clueless.
He dropped Leben with a crisp combination and floored him again with a powerful knee up the middle, prompting the referee to intervene just 49 seconds into the bout.
Anderson Silva made short work of Chris Leben, earning a title shot as a result. His immaculate striking display against the TUF alum remains one of the greatest UFC debuts of all time and also kicked off the longest win-streak in promotional history.
Silva's six-year winning run from 2006 to 2012 cemented his standing among the greatest fighters of all time.
#4. Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin 1 – UFC 64
The win over Chris Leben vaulted Anderson Silva straight into a championship bout, which went down just three months after his octagon debut. 'The Spider' took on then-middleweight champion Rich Franklin, who was coming off two title defenses.
What was initially expected to be a tough fight for Silva quickly turned into another striking masterclass. 'The Spider' proved to be too strong for Franklin in the clinch, landing multiple knees to the body before breaking away with a head-kick.
Franklin was forced back into the cage behind him. With nowhere to go, he couldn't get out of the way of another thunderous knee from Silva, which put him out cold.
It took just three minutes for the Brazilian challenger to dethrone the champion, and considering how dominant he was right from the opening bell, the masses realized that this was the start of a new era at 185 pounds. Silva's one-sided beatdown of Franklin sparked the dawn of arguably the most exciting championship reign in UFC history.
#3. Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar – UFC 153
The final win of Anderson Silva's historic win streak came in a light heavyweight bout in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. With no new challengers for his middleweight title on the horizon, Silva stepped up to the 205-pound division for a third time, taking on TUF finalist Stephan Bonnar in the main event.
At this point in his career, Silva regularly toyed with his opponents inside the octagon. The flamboyant Brazilian was no stranger to showboating, and his fight against Bonnar was yet another showcase of his spectacular striking.
After spending three minutes clowning around with Stephan Bonnar and making him miss repeatedly, Anderson Silva switched gears and started turning up his offense. Four minutes into the bout, he tripped Bonnar to force a scamble.
As his American counterpart got back on his feet, Silva flew in with a picture-perfect step-in knee, landing dead-center on Bonnar's face. After a few follow-up shots from 'The Spider', the referee called a halt to the action, sending the Brazilian faithful in attendance into a frenzy.
#2. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort – UFC 126
Going into his eighth title defense, Anderson Silva was being touted as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. However, he was coming off a lackluster decision win over Demian Maia and a Hail Mary submission victory over Chael Sonnen, which led many to believe that his best days were behind him.
Silva locked horns with fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 126 and reminded his peers and fans just how good he is, finishing his compatriot with one of the most iconic knockouts in MMA history.
The fight started out fairly slowly, with both fighters guaging each other's range. Vitor Belfort was known for his explosivity and devastating knockout power, so Anderson Silva wisely maintained his distance.
Halfway through the fourth minute of the first round and seemingly out of nowhere, Silva uncorked a perfectly-timed front-kick up the middle, catching Belfort flush under the jaw. The challenger dropped to his knees upon impact and the referee intervened soon after.
While front-kick knockouts have become more common in the modern era, this was the first time the technique was seen inside the octagon. In many ways, Silva was ahead of his time. This knockout, as well as the next one on this list, displays the epitome of his dominance.
#1. Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin – UFC 101
While his flashy front-kick knockout victory over Vitor Belfort was arguably the greatest highlight of his scintillating UFC run, Anderson Silva's dismantling of Forrest Griffin remains one of the greatest striking displays MMA fans have ever seen.
Having spent three years atop the middleweight division dispatching one challenger after another, Silva moved up to light heavyweight to take on Forrest Griffin in the main event of UFC 101 in 2009.
Akin to the matador and bull, Silva made Griffin miss every time the latter plowed forward. 'The Spider' looked untouchable on the night, and with every passing second of the fight, Griffin looked increasingly helpless.
A little over three minutes into the the bout, Griffin came forward with a three-punch combination, all of which was evaded by Silva, who countered with an exquisite right-straight to finish the fight.
This flawless display of god-like striking represents Silva at the peak of his powers.