If you want to say that Anderson Silva underperformed again by circling around for three minutes and only throwing three leg kicks -- seriously, just three leg kicks -- fine. The numbers don't get much better in the next 29 seconds -- one leg kick, two punches -- but, wow, did he make those strikes count at UFC 126 on Saturday night.
With just four legitimate strikes thrown, Silva knocked out Vitor Belfort and successfully defended his UFC middleweight championship belt for a promotion-record eighth straight time.
Silva (28-4), the most creative and unique striker in mixed martial arts, landed a front kick with his left leg underneath the right side of Belfort's chin, and he trickled to the ground like water down your chin in a dribble glass. Silva followed up with two punches before referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.
"That's just one of the strikes that I was working on," Silva said.
Belfort's head snapped back like a crash test dummy in a car commercial. It was the first fight for Belfort (19-9) after 504 days away from the octagon because of injuries.
Before that five-second front kick of fury, the two fighters amassed little action. They circled each other for most of the round. Belfort was the first aggressor at 1:27 into the round with a soft leg kick. He threw his second kick 47 seconds later, then two punches 28 seconds after that.
Silva's first attack came 1:35 into the fight. It was a jab of a leg kick aimed at the shin of Belfort. Silva's next leg kick 1:18 later and that attempted head kick ended with him on the floor after Belfort ducked and took him down. On his way up to his feet, Silva threw a knee.
Then came that front leg kick, and Silva's UFC-best 13th straight victory inside the octagon.