After waiting years for the opportunity, Michael Bisping enjoyed the greatest moment of his career on Saturday in London by defeating former middleweight champion Anderson Silva via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night.
There are no shortage of topics to discuss coming out of the five-round battle.
Here's what mattered most from the weekend in mixed martial arts:
Anderson Silva isn't done -- but his utter dominance is
This was to be expected, of course. The greatest of all time turns 41 next month. His ability to consistently dominate opposition probably ended in 2013, when he lost to Chris Weidman twice in five months, but it's officially over now.
Depending on which direction he goes, Silva still has plenty in the tank. He still played the hits on Saturday. Everything that has made him special for years was still on display, just a slightly less effective version of it. You could even say the fight was composed of different moments from his history.
Silva landed the front kick to the face that knocked out Vitor Belfort in 2011 and that wicked upward elbow drawn from the waist that knocked out Tony Fryklund in his last performance before signing with the UFC. He also stationed himself against the fence and dared Bisping forward, as he did against Stephan Bonnar. Even his behavior was classic Silva. When he reached forward to hug Bisping after a dangerous exchange in the opening round, it brought back memories of him reaching down and offering to help Patrick Cote to his feet in the middle of a title fight six years ago. Cote shook his head at the gesture that night. On Saturday, Bisping forcefully shoved him away.
And at the end of the third round, Bisping learned you still can't sleep for a second on Silva. The 12-year veteran made a rookie mistake when he looked towards referee Herb Dean and signaled for his mouthpiece, which had fallen out moments before. Silva used the opportunity to land the most significant strike of the 25-minute fight, a flying knee that opened Bisping's left cheek and would have ended the fight had the bell not sounded seconds later.
It was still Anderson Silva in the Octagon last weekend -- but then again, it was and it wasn't. That's the best explanation for the look of genuine shock on Silva's face in the fight. First, when he sat atop the cage and found out it wasn't over after the flying knee and then again when results were read, unanimously, in Bisping's favor.
Silva is used to seeing things others can't. Traditionally, these have been offensive openings and patterns in his opponent's movement that even they are unaware of. This time, he couldn't see how a trio of (correct) 48-47 scores went against him. According to Brazilian outlets, Silva referred to the decision as "corrupt" in his native Portuguese.
The most dominant champion in UFC history remains officially without a win since October 2012. Against Bisping, he absorbed 108 total strikes, the highest number of his career. After knocking Bisping down in the third round, Silva spent the entire first minute of the fourth circling the cage and refusing to engage. It's impossible to ever know -- and this is not to take any credit away from Bisping -- but one got the feeling Silva, in his first bout following a one-year suspension for a failed drug test, only needed to fight to get a victory. The three rounds he lost were the three he took off.
Again, Silva is not done and there are still plenty of reasons to watch him fight. They're the same reasons as always for the most part, but with one major omission -- Silva fights used to be about waiting for that one special moment that he would finish a fight in an instant. He's still capable of those moments, it's just that now, it's about seeing whether or not those moments are enough to get him a win.