Commentary

Silva, Maia steal UFC 148 spotlight

Originally Published: July 9, 2012
By Josh Gross | ESPN.com

Some UFC 148 housekeeping before we get to grades.

It's worth reiterating that the knee Anderson Silva landed in the second round against Chael Sonnen was perfectly legal. Silva targeted and struck Sonnen's body. Even if the Brazilian's thigh touched Sonnen's face, it wouldn't matter. That's not a knee.

Less legal (i.e., illegal) was Silva's short grab in Round 2 that helped him fend off a Sonnen takedown. Silva's prefight routine also prompted some people to accuse him (again) of rubbing down his chest and arms with Vaseline. Referee Yves Lavigne did a fine job of handling the important assignment. He immediately saw what Silva was doing, intervened and wiped the champion off with a towel. You can argue the lack of effectiveness of terry cloth versus petroleum jelly. It didn't matter much in the end.

The undercard was as weak as it appeared to be on paper. Over the course of fight week, I did interviews with ESPN radio affiliates across the country and was hard-pressed to answer, "What else should we keep an eye on Saturday in Las Vegas?" Each time, I mentioned Chad Mendes, who went on to destroy Cody McKenzie.

Although it will remain an important point of contention in MMA, testosterone-replacement therapy, popularized by Sonnen, clearly isn't some magic elixir, at least not when stacked against Silva's pedigree.

(I'd bet there will be a UFC champion openly taking testosterone within the next 18 months.)

Ungraded but worth mentioning:

Khabib Nurmagomedov received help from the judges to remain unbeaten. I had Gleison Tibau winning 29-28.

Melvin Guillard picked up a victory but wasn't altogether impressive. Credit Fabricio Camoes for making it difficult, though Guillard continues to make questionable choices in the cage. This time, at least, he escaped with a win.

That's all for now. From A to F, here's how Saturday's pay-per-view fighters fared at the MGM Grand Garden Arena:

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