Jared Cannonier scored the biggest victory of his career at UFC 237 on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The No. 10 ranked UFC middleweight in the world took out the legendary Anderson Silva and did so with surgical precision.
Silva nearly got another shot at gold when he faced Israel Adesanya in his last bout. A victory meant a promised shot at the belt, but at the end of three hard-fought rounds, Adesanya walked away the victor and eventually became the interim UFC middleweight titleholder.
Silva hoped to return to get back into the victory column at UFC 237, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Cannonier came into the UFC 237 co-main event off of a victory over former World Series of Fighting dual-division champion David Branch. Riding the high of that victory, he built momentum by fighting to perfection against Silva.
Cannonier immediately took the center of the Octagon in the opening round, while Silva circled away. Cannonier quickly took control of the fight, landing numerous hard leg kicks throughout the round.
Silva showed flashes with a few one-off kicks, but it was Cannonier that seemed to do damage, repeatedly landing the inside leg kick to Silva’s lead leg.
The damage to Silva’s leg was mounting throughout the round, but as the clock was winding down, Cannonier landed one final inside kick that forced Silva to fall to the canvas, clasping his knee in pain.
Referee Herb Dean, probably thinking back to the same catastrophic night that we all were, where Silva’s lower leg snapped, quickly stopped the fight.
This was not a repeat of that tragic night, but it certainly appeared as if Silva’s knee suffered some serious damage as it buckled before he fell to the floor.
Jared Cannonier addresses a hostile UFC 237 crowd in Brazil
It was a picture-perfect performance by Cannonier, who received a monsoon of boos from the Brazilian fans when he was interviewed after the fight.
“I want to say thank you to Anderson Silva. I really appreciate the opportunity to step in here. I want to show my appreciation and respect to him,” Cannonier said.
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“The crowd is a different story. They don’t have any respect for me, I don’t have any respect for them.”
Following his comments, Cannonier met with Silva along the fence and both men fell to their knees and bowed to each other in respect, the crowd still booing Cannonier as he exited the Octagon.