Anderson Silva reveals he 'held back' against Thales Leites at UFC 97 out of ‘respect’

Jul. 7, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Anderson Silva celebrates after defeating Chael Sonnen during a middleweight bout in UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Killer instinct, you either have it or you don't.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, who has 12 finishes in 15 contests inside the Octagon, definitely has it and always looks to end his fights in dramatic fashion be it by submission or knockout.

Unless, of course, you're his friend.

"The Spider" recently told Tatame that the only time he ever held back during a fight was when he faced off against fellow Brazilian Thales Leites at UFC 97 way back in 2009. The fight was rather lackluster, with Anderson not attacking to his fullest potential while Thales flopped to ground in attempts to take it down to the mat time after time.

Now we know why:

"There's no such thing as holding back. I want to finish as soon as possible. The only time I did it was because he was a friend of mine. It was against Thales Leites. We went until the last round because he's a friend of mine and I respect him"

Leites survived all five rounds against the best pound-for-pound-fighter in the world, but eventually came up short on the judges' scorecards.

Perhaps his "moral victory" of hanging in there for a full 25 minutes with the most dominant champion in mixed martial arts (MMA) history without being submitted or knocked senseless, is now worthless with the revelation that Silva apparently took it easy against him out of respect.

Kind, dominant and thoughtful champion, what a combination!

Any of you surprised with Silva's comments? Should Leites be insulted with the revelation? Or thanking his lucky stars?

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