Can you guys believe that it’s been over a decade since the UFC 112 : Anderson Silva vs. Demia Maia event took place at The Concert Arena in Abu Dhabi ?
Seems like only yesterday that the concept of the Octagon traveling to the Middle East was as much a wacky, weird and wickedly wild idea as it was an almost unobtainable goal. However, fast forward to 2021, and the world’s leading MMA promotion touching down in the United Arab Emirates has become standard protocol. This of course happened due to the pandemic’s colossal impact on sporting events last year and its restrictions on public attendance; leaving the organization with absolutely no choice but to call multiple audibles at the line of scrimmage in order to successfully do business. The virus spread like wildfire shutting down practically everything thus the UFC brass created “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi to help conquer multiple covid19 problems, keep their athletes active and the rest as they say, “is history”.
So, without further ado let’s go back and visit some key moments that happened that memorable UFC 112 night and reminisce on the big event headlined by two UFC championship title fights.
(Cue angelic harp music and rippling TV screen effect)
One of the main selling points of that UFC 112 event was the greatness within; living legends and then titleholders Anderson “The Spider” Silva and “The Prodigy” BJ Penn put their titles on the line in the main and co-main event of the evening. The brilliant Brazilian and 185lbs king was on an 11-fight winning streak as well as an unprecedented 8th title defense of his middleweight strap against a fellow Brazilian in Demian Maia. Silva was setting records left and right and to this day his 185lbs title defense record has yet to be touched by newly crowned champions carving out legacies in the division. Historic as it may be the downfall to that UFC 112 main event was the complete lack of fireworks as Maia continually pulled guard on the mat while Anderson wanted to keep things upright. Extremely harsh criticism came down on the champion, rather than the challenger, for his unwillingness to engage resulting in a noticeable lack of offense. Silva was a master counter striker so if you didn’t give him anything to work with his output suffered. Nonetheless, he won a clear-cut unanimous decision and left home with the belt in tow looking ahead to building further on his iconic legacy.
Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for the champion in the co-main event that night when Hawaii’s own and 5-1 betting favorite BJ Penn collided with New Jersey’s Frankie Edgar. The east coaster had the answer to the Penn problem and made it look easy by beating him to the punch, mixing up his head and body attacks seamlessly, gliding around the cage with solid footwork and operating behind a crisp jab for 25 minutes. Via a clean, unanimous decision Edgar took the 155lbs belt as well as the mystique of BJ which at the time boys and girls was Mike Tysonesque; he was unstoppable in the cage at lightweight so, Frankie was his James “Buster” Douglas that night. Frankie snatched up the UFC belt simultaneously silencing all the doubters and put on an encore performance at UFC 118 where he defended the gold against Penn with ease and another UD.
A few other highlights of the night were DeMarques Jackson getting his KO bonus and then sleeper, Rafael dos Anjos, nabbing a Submission of the Night bonus. Yes, that dos Anjos who would one day rule the division as its king winning as well as successfully defending the UFC 155lbs belt in 2015.
The rest of the UFC 112 PPV was peppered with big names the likes of Matt Hughes, Renzo Gracie, Phil Davis, Alexander Gustafsson, Mark Munoz, Rick Story and shined brightly just like the Ferrari Arena built to host the event. Oddly enough , it was constructed purely for the show and dismantled immediately days after to never be used again. At least those fans live in attendance or up early that day got to enjoy it live at 10AM in the USA on television as well as a replay that night on what was the usual PPV time of 7PM.
Isn’t it just amazing that you got all that MMA action as well as the free replay of the PPV that evening on satellite TV for just $ 44.99 standard definition? Yes, back then you could select SD (standard definition) and pocket the $10.00 or show off in front of friends and family and order the PPV on Hi-Def for $54.99 . For those confused there was no ESPN + subscription required, well, simply because it didn’t exist in 2010 when UFC 112 wowed us with its two title fights in the morning time and shocking changing of the UFC lightweight belt to christen a new chapter in MMA.
Thanks for us here at Battle MMA in a trip to time and we’ll see you for next installment of combat sports nostalgia.