December 31st, 2004
In a night stacked with some of the best fighters from around the world, many big names emerged victors, as the dominate forces of the growing sport of MMA gathered to put on a spectacle to finalize the year. Among these warriors you have glorified stars, covering the card from top to bottom. Dan Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko, Takanori Gomi, and Mirko Cro Cop all emerged as winners from this night. But there is one bout, and one name that stands above all others now, though then it was far less notable.
Anderson "The Spider" Silva, only 14 fights into his now illustrious career, was taking on a smaller, slower, weaker man by the name of Ryo Chonan. Chonan was an even lesser fighter in the eyes of the public(despite an upset win over Carlos Newton) having only 11 fights under his belt, 4 of which were losses. While standing next to one another, the difference in their stature was so plainly obvious it was almost damaging in itself, and though he was young, Silva had already displayed some wonderful hands, feet, precision and speed going into this fight. A champion of Cage Rage's Middleweight division, this wouldn't be a title defense, but it would certainly be a bout for "The Spider" to remember forever.
Anderson didn't take long to display why he was considered such a dangerous striker. Pinpoint shots flew in from multiple angles and Chonan was tagged with several, albeit not very damaging punches. There was however, visible damage done, and as a result Anderson found himself all over Chonan's back. Quickly inserting a body triangle Anderson held this position for the better part of 2 minutes, landing several small, but effective shots, while controlling Ryo's movement. Times changed however, as Chonan found himself within Silva's guard, and landed a few small punches. Though even from the back, the prowess and flexibility of "The Spider" was shown, as he implemented a body lock from his full guard, accompanied by shots of his own up into the face of Chonan. Eventually after a few more attemps at his ground and pound game, the Spider hopped off the mat at the call of the referee, a yellow card issued in his name. During the last minute of the round Silva peppered Chonan a bit more in the stand up game, keeping him at bay with his reach and creative kicking. An alright round for Ryo to be assured, holding the dominant position as he did and avoiding submission attempts, the could have been given to him.
It begins with a small process of feeling the opposition out, but it takes no more than a minute for "The Spider" to emerge from hiding. Landing several shots early he quickly began to control the pace of the fight. Silva was visibly dominant, despite Chonan fairing better than most had expected. Ryo used several effective leg kicks, enough to switch Silva into an orthadox stance for a time. Despite his best efforts however, Chonan was getting tagged over and over. Several rights landed from Silva, quick and precise but nothing too damaging for Ryo to overcome. Having stunned his opposition several times, Silva remained patient, landing shots in most every exchange the two had on the feet. After a brief clinch exchange, Chonan once again was able to find himself in Silva's guard, though little damage was able to be dealt. Silva's rock solid defense off his back was evident, but Ryo was able to maintain position for the remainder of the round.
Enter Round 3:
This round Silva's prominence on his feet was even more evident than in the prior. Landing swift combination with both hands and feet, he controlled Chonan, stuffing a desperate takedown attempt after landing several shots early on. Chonan however, was absorbing the punches quite well, and though his hands weren't reaching Anderson on most occasions, his legs were. A kick to the body, and calf, evidence of damage to Silva's leg, and the stage was set. Chonan's face had begun swelling up from the shots he'd eaten through the fight, but his work with the leg kicks against the Spider throughout the fight, were finally about to pay off. In a quick instant, Chonan went airborn, tying his legs around Silva's lead, the leg scissor complete as he dropped Anderson to his back, then instantly applying a heel hook. In the blink of an eye Chonan's sub par offensive assault turned into a flash submission, so fast and smooth that within just one second, Silva had tapped.
The brilliance of this submission has been lost in the halls of Knockout victories that Silva has over top of the food chain competition. A single glaring mistake from Anderson, proof in itself just how unpredictable, the sport of MMA really is.
Chonan's career has since taken a downward spiral, several fights later, his official record now 18-12(most recently a 20 second KO loss), including a 1-3 run in the UFC. Ryo sits outside of the vision of the champion, outside of the reach of the Spider. Though, he's written his piece of history now, even if he didn't know it then. A stunning, stellar submission victory over the man who would become the top Pound for Pound fighter in the world, and has defended the UFC Middleweight title 8 times now.
YouTube - Anderson Silva VS. Ryo Chonan Flying Scissor Heel Hook