Big MMA Machine: Silva and Robinson spoil UFC 77 for Cincinnati boys

ufc 77 recap

"What happened?"

That's what Rich Franklin mouthed to his corner right after his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. "Ace's" appearance in the UFC 77: "Hostile Territory" main event against 185-pound champion Anderson Silva in his hometown of Cincinnati clearly didn't go his way ... again.

"The Spider" dismantled the former champion for the second time in 12 months. From spinning back fists and kicks to bone-crushing knees, Silva wrecked Franklin with an awesome and lethal combination of strikes to earn a second round technical knockout win.

It almost didn't get that far, however. Silva floored Franklin in the waning seconds of round one with a right hook. Franklin needed to be peeled of the canvas and escorted back to his corner with the help of his cornermen.

The Brazilian smelled the blood in the water and immediately went in for the kill to begin the second stanza. Franklin had no answers for Silva's clinch once again -- he ate knees and elbows until he mercifully went down for the second and final time of the night.

With yet another convincing win over a tough opponent Silva has made a statement that he is perhaps the top pound-for-pound mixed martial artist on the planet. Right now, there is not anyone (on paper) in that division who can stop him.

He's one "scary" dude. And the thing that's bizarre in all of this is that his body language after the bout was as if he felt bad about beating up Franklin. So I guess he's a scary "classy" dude, too.

No idea where Franklin goes from here. He's exhausted most of his options in terms of fighting top-level talent in the division. And even if he goes on a crazy win streak in the next year or so, is anyone interested in Silva-Franklin III?

Franklin probably isn't.

In the co-main event, Tim Sylvia used his size and experience to overwhelm and frustrate Brandon Vera en route to three-round unanimous decision win.

It wasn't a great action-packed fight, but it did have its moments.

After a year-long layoff Vera looked a little stiff entering the Octagon and never seemed to get comfortable. Sylvia stalked "The Truth" for much of the fight and kept a close distance, preventing Vera from unleashing his powerful kicks and Muay Thai skills.

This fight was spent mostly pressed up against the cage. And when it went to the center of the cage Sylvia seemed to be the busier and more accurate striker.

"The Maine-iac" did what he had to do to get the win. He seems like his old self again even if he didn't stop Vera with a highlight-reel knockout. In fact, that might be a testament to Vera's ability and not to Tim's recent inability to finish opponents.

In the post-fight interviews, Sylvia called out Cheick Kongo. It was bizarre because Yahoo!Sports.com reported that the winner of the match up would face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the vacant heavyweight title sometime in early 2008.

Perhaps that is no longer in the cards or Sylvia just didn't get the memo. Time will tell.

Vera plans to remain in the heavyweight division despite being at a major size disadvantage. He's confident that he can hold both the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles simultaneously one day.

Maybe he's right. But Vera should work his way from the bottom up if he wants to find out. He broke his left hand during the fight, which more than likely played a factor in the Sylvia fight. There's no telling how long it will take him to recover, and when he is healed, who he will fight next.

In the swing bout, Alvin Robinson weathered a first-round Jorge Gurgel blitze and beat down the former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 2 contestant for the next 10 minutes.

Gurgel was reduced to a bloody pulp after Robinson dropped about 741 head bouncers on him during rounds two and three. It was brutal ground and pound.

Robinson looked good -- Gurgel is a tough guy who has a lot of heart. But I've said this once and I'll say it again: he's not UFC caliber. His only wins inside the Octagon were against Danny Abbadi and Diego Saraiva.

Not to kick a man when he's down, but Gurgel has had more chances than most to succeed in the UFC and he has never really delivered. He belongs in the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization at 145 pounds.

That seems like a much better fit for his size and skill set.

In other main card action, Alan Belcher took out Kalib Starnes in the second round because of a grizzly cut on the Canadian's forehead.

It was kind of like Marvin Eastman's battle cut, but of course, not that bad. Apparently the cut was so deep that the doctor could see his skull.

Ouch.

Regardless, Starnes was furious with the decision to stop the fight, which was pretty good up until that point.

"The Talent" always looks to mix it up and he didn't disappoint at the U.S. Bank Arena last night. He looked to be in great shape, picking up his first win at 185-pounds in the UFC.

The light heavyweight bout between Stephan Bonnar and Eric Schafer rounded out the televised portion of the pay-per-view (PPV) event.

It was a match up between two former training partners and still good friends.

"Red" never really had a shot in this one. "The American Psycho" was the dominant and more aggressive fighter from the outset.

Bonnar survived an early submission attempt in the first round and went on to score a technical knockout win late in the second.

He looked good.

That's all for the UFC 77 main card round-up. For all results check out our LIVE blow-by-blow blogging last night with UFCmania reader DrubySunshine.

Apologies this recap didn't come out sooner. Real life got in the way last night and I didn't watch the fights until about 2 a.m. this morning.

It was a decent card all around that perhaps left more questions than answers. As usual, however, things will all work out eventually.

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