Cannonier showered with boos after TKO of Silva
- Jan-Jaap Abbink
Jared Cannonier stood in the center of the Octagon, a microphone in his face, silent.
The crowd, meanwhile, was anything but.
Fans in attendance at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro showered Cannonier with loud boos for nearly a minute straight after his TKO of legend Anderson Silva at 4:47 of the first round Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 237.
Seconds earlier, Cannonier landed a big kick to the inside of Silva's right leg. Upon impact, Silva crumbled to the mat and grabbed his knee in pain. Referee Herb Dean waved off the bout, ruling Cannonier the winner.
It was the first time Silva, an icon in his native country, had fought in Brazil since 2012. And the fans could not accept the ending to the bout, as legitimate as it was.
Cannonier thanked Silva for the opportunity, but had some choice words for the spectators.
"The crowd is a different story," Cannonier said. "They don't respect me, I ain't got no respect for them. And that's just it."
Silva said afterward that he came into the fight with an existing knee injury that he had not previously mentioned.
"I'm sorry, guys," Silva said. "In training, my knee was already a little bad. I took a kick to it and it just didn't hold up. I'm sorry."
Cannonier didn't just land the one kick to Silva's leg, he landed several. The area around Silva's knee was already bruised when the finishing blow came. It was the most effective bit of offense from either man in a fight that hadn't quite yet hit a second gear.
Cannonier (12-4) has now won two straight and put his name on the list of contenders at middleweight after previously fighting at both heavyweight and light heavyweight in the UFC. The Dallas native, who trains out of The MMA Lab in Arizona, won his middleweight debut against David Branch at UFC 230 last November. Cannonier, 35, has won by finish in 10 of his 12 victories.
Silva (34-10, 1 NC) is no stranger to leg injuries in fights. He famously shattered his left leg -- a compound fracture -- in a middleweight title fight against Chris Weidman at UFC 168 in 2013.
"The Spider," now 44, has lost two straight and only has one win since 2012. Silva still is considered historically one of the greatest UFC champions of all time, though he is on the back nine of his career. The California resident still owns the all-time UFC record for consecutive wins (16). This was Silva's 23rd UFC main or co-main event, which sets the modern record.