At any weight class, Anderson Silva is proving too tough to beat.
Silva used an electrifying performance to prove his bump up in weight class was the right one, dropping Forrest Griffin with a devastating right punch and a first-round knockout in a light-heavyweight bout at UFC 101 on Saturday night.
Silva (25-4) bobbed his head as he toyed with Griffin (16-6) for the few minutes they were in the cage before putting him away at 3:23.
Silva, the UFC middleweight champion, convincingly did his part to stake his claim as the top pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts.
BJ Penn followed by successfully defending his lightweight crown, using the rear naked choke to make Kenny Florian tap out in the fourth round.
Penn (14-5-1) took down Florian about 80 seconds into the fourth round and kept the No. 1 contender on the mat. Florian (13-4) had no counter as he struggled to break loose.
Penn finally slapped on the submission move toward the end of the round and the crowd roared. Penn had the punishing move locked in, and Florian quit at 3:54.
Silva and Penn helped usher in a new breed of Broad Street Bullies in Pennsylvania’s first major mixed martial arts card in front of a raucous crowd.
About 17,500 fans packed the Wachovia Center and the expected $3.5-million gate -- with ticket prices ranging from $50 to $600 -- would make it higher than any boxing card in the state’s history.
“Every restaurant, everybody we bumped into in the streets, the media people here, they’ve all been fantastic,” Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White said before the start of the main card. “Now I know why this place is the biggest fight town in America.”
White has actively worked at expanding UFC cards outside of Las Vegas, and got a huge break in February when the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission legalized MMA.
Philadelphia fans responded in a huge way, going wild from the first undercard bout and proving a city known more for its deep boxing roots can root on fighters in the octagon.
“There were 11,000 people here for the first fight [of the night]. That’s as many as Mandalay Bay can hold,” a beaming White said.