Photo of winner Anderson Silva by Esther Lin via MMAfighting.com
It was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait.
The main event featured the highly anticipated rematch between UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva and his arch-nemesis, Chael Sonnen. After two years of smack talk, it was time to put up or shut up, and Silva did just that with a brilliant second round technical knockout victory that should send Sonnen back to the drawing board.
It wasn't pretty, but after seeing the first two fights, that shouldn't be surprising. After three hard fought rounds, Griffin emerged as the winner, sending Ortiz off into the sunset, after one last barn-burner.
Let's take a gander at the list of big winners and lowly losers from UFC 148: "Silva vs. Sonnen 2:"
Anderson Silva -- I didn't love the shoulder chin-check. I wasn't a fan of trying to grease up a little extra before the fight. I didn't adore a lot of what Silva did leading up to this confrontation, but let's be honest, he didn't start the fight, he just ended it. It's over. End of story. Nothing more to see here.
Tito Ortiz -- I know he lost, but in last career contest, he left it all out there. Sure, he got gassed in the first round, and he pretty much looked like a zombie for round two and three, but he gave all he had. It wasn't a performance that deserved an award for technique, but he went out on his sword, just like he said he would. Love him or hate him, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" is truly one of the names who put the UFC on the map.
Chad Mendes -- He said he was going to get a quick finish. He did just that. In just 31 seconds, "Money" ran straight to the center of the cage, nailed Cody McKenzie with a perfect body shot that sent him spiraling him to the mat, where he pounced on top of him and finished him, shortly thereafter. Big win for Mendes, who really needed a confidence boost after being finished by Jose Aldo at UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Jan. 14, 2012.
Demian Maia -- In a really odd fight, Maia made a triumphant entrance into the Welterweight division with a quick TKO win against Dong Hyun Kim. The reason that the nature of the finish was strange, was that it didn't come by way of a strike or a submission. Maia simply picked up Kim and slammed him head first into the corner of the cage. It wasn't on purpose, but it happened, and it sucked...a lot.
Cung Le -- What a great kickboxing display this was! For 15 minutes, Le showed why his kicks (and striking game, in general) are world renowned. He finally got his first UFC win at the age of forty years old.
Mike Easton -- In "The Hulk's" third fight in the UFC Octagon, the competition was stiff, as he had to take on top Bantamweight contender, Ivan Menjivar. Early on, Menjivar kept Eastonat bay with a huge overhand right that he didn't hesitate to throw at will. By round two, Easton found his timing and shook off the jitters, allowing himself to get loose and believe in his hands. Easton was simply better than Menjivar in every aspect, and the unanimous decision reflected that.
Melvin Guillard -- "The Young Assassin" was able to learn from some of his past mistakes by avoiding the submission attempts of Fabricio Camoes, and was able to use his striking and his top game (most near the end of he first two rounds) to win a much needed unanimous decision. It wasn't anything that will put him anywhere near the top of the heap, but it at least shows he's made some headway.
Constantinos Philippou -- After absorbing an illegal low kick and a terrible eyepoke, Philippou surprised everyone by returning to action, enraged by the foul play, and finished (though not actually achieving a finish) the fight. It was unfortunate that the bout was somewhat marred by some of the out-of-bounds actions, but "Costa" looked impressive by not only outboxing Fukuda, but successfully defending almost every one of his takedown attempts. The unanimous decision win makes it four in a row for Philippou.
Chael Sonnen -- Duh. This is the most obvious entry of all time. After two years of ragging on Anderson Silva, his country, and even his wife, "The American Gangster" lived up to his namesake for one round. But MMA fights aren't about going five good minutes, they're about finishing. Sonnen screwed the pooch in the first go-round with "The Spider." He did it again in the sequel.
Forrest Griffin -- I like Forrest. I really do. I've always been a fan. And I have respect for the way he was able to power through and win a tough fight against a hyped up Tito. But what was he doing after the fight? It was Tito's moment. He deserved to have that. It was nonsense for Forrest to take off like he did, then come back to put on more of a dog-and-pony show when he got back. There have been many times where I've been left wondering what Forrest was thinking. This moment ranks right up there.
Patrick Cote -- "The Predator" came out and battled. I can't hate on him for that. He really did leave his heart in the cage, but unfortunately, he didn't bring his brain. I have to believe he had a better strategy than to stand in front of Cung Le and trade kicks. He had to, right? Either way, the gameplan didn't work out for him. Hopefully "Uncle Dana" will respect the effort and let him stick around this time.
Riki Fukuda -- For three rounds, Fukuda found it nearly impossible to take down his opponent, Philippou, and had just about the same level of success when he tried to strike with him. In the third round, Fukuda, looked to need a knockout or a submission to earn the win. It was then that Fukuda nailed Philippou with a brutal eyepoke, as a result of a careless jab where he left his hand far from closed. It wasn't on purpose, but it wasn't not on purpose, either.
Ivan Menjivar -- After winning his first three UFC fights in a row, Menjivar was a fighter who had fought his way into title contention. At UFC 148, Menjivar was simply outclassed by the up-and-coming Easton. Menjivar's still a force to be reckoned with at 135-pounds, but he may need some time to get over this one.
Cody McKenzie -- If you're gonna talk serious trash for weeks leading up to the fight, claim you're going to war and that you have no desire to touch gloves before the fight or hug afterwards, what you absolutely can not do is get knocked out in 31 seconds. You look even worse when you actually do hug said opponent, right after he wipes the canvas with you. Need I say more?
That's a wrap for our list of the noteworthy heroes and zeroes from UFC 148. In the comment section below, let us know what your list looks like.
For complete UFC 148 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.