Silva stepped in to face Bonnar at short notice to save the Rio de Janerio card and did not disappoint a packed home crowd in a higher weight class.
'American Psycho' Bonnar came out swinging in the early stages as he attempted to produce arguably the biggest upset in UFC history.
Bonnar pressed Silva against the fence, with the 'Spider' more than happy to oblige, staying calm and landing significant strikes at will.
Silva turned on the accelerator with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first round, following up a right hand with a brutal knee direct to Bonnar's body.
Bonnar curled into a ball on the canvas as Silva hammered home a series of punches, forcing the referee to call a stoppage and send the partisan crowd wild.
The first-round victory extends Silva's unbeaten streak in the UFC to 16 and makes it six successive wins inside the distance for the light heavyweight champion.