The UFC middleweight champion stepped up a weight division to take on the non-title fight at short notice, but still took less than a round to defeat Bonnar in front of a hometown crowd in Rio de Janeiro.
MMA: Anderson Silva scores first-round victory over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153
The Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight title holder Anderson Silva emphasised his dominance of the sport with a first-round stoppage win over Stephan Bonnar in his native Brazil.
Silva, fighting in the main event at short notice and at a weight class higher than his normal division, toyed with Bonnar for much of the first round before taking the American in the closing seconds of the first round.
The hometown favourite then rushed in with a knee to the solar plexus which notably injured Bonnar before following up with punches to score his 17th consecutive victory.
Already regarded as the pound-for-pound best fighter in MMA, his latest victory at a different weight class has added to the debate about whether Silva can be classed as the greatest of all time.
After the fight, the Brazilian insisted: "I'm not the best - I just do things that people think are impossible."
Countryman Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made his return in front of a hometown crowd for the first time since having his arm broken by Frank Mir at UFC 140 last December to defeat Dave Hermann by submission.
Hermann had claimed in the pre-fight video that jiujitsu does not work, only to be manoeuvred into a second-round armbar by a textbook display of the discipline by Nogueira.
Elsewhere on the card, Glover Teixeira recorded a second-round win over Fabio Malonado after the fight was stopped by medical staff between rounds due to a cut.
Malonado, replacing A Team star Quinton Jackson who had pulled out of the fight through injury, had been heavily beaten during the two rounds by Teixeira, who praised his opponent's resilience afterwards.
Jon Fitch won a unanimous judges decision over Erick Silva, while Phil Davis secured a submission victory over Wagner Prado with less than 30 seconds of the second round remaining in a rematch, following the no contest stoppage of their original bout due to an accidental eyepoke.
Popular Brazilian fighter Demian Maia also recorded a submission win, defeating American fighter Rick Story by rear naked choke half way through the first round.
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