The Sunday Aftermath – UFC 183

ufc183

Two legends of mixed martial arts returned to the cage last night as UFC 183 went down in front of 13,114 fans inside Las Vegas’ MGM Grand to top off a wonderful month of action inside the cage. The fights were exciting from top to bottom but the headlining bout was the one they all came for.

He Back

Anderson Silva, back one year after a gruesome leg break, faced off in the main event against Nick Diaz who was himself returning from two years of a sabbatical and, unsurprisingly, the first round was about as bizarre as we might have expected it to be. Immediately, Nick Diaz began to thrash talk as he stood steady in the middle of the octagon while Silva scanned his perimeter and struck with a couple of feelers. Then, comically, Diaz threw himself to the ground before hopping up and putting his back against the cage to taunt Silva. “The Spider” remained calm initially but once Diaz landed a few punches he was happy to show his chin was still in tact and trade.

The second five minutes were much of the same as Silva shook off the rust and used his previously broken left leg to attack Diaz while steering clear of what turned out to be the only takedown attempt of the bout. Anderson was now opening up with strikes a little more and almost succeeded with his patented jumping back elbow before the pair chatted at round’s end. The middle period began to show glimpses of the old Anderson Silva. The Brazilian looked light on his feet as he smashed Diaz with leg kicks and broke down his high guard with a well placed right hand which opened up a cut on the eye of the Stockton native. Diaz had some success early in the championship rounds as he put a couple of flurries together to start and end the fourth. In between that, though, Silva looked in control and hit Diaz numerous times including a hurtful kick to the body.

Diaz needed to finish in the final round, but it never looked likely. Again, Silva attacked with leg kicks to answer the taunts and added some nice combinations which Diaz was unable to parry. As the seconds ticked down and the blood flew freely from the face of Diaz, Anderson opened up and answered the taunts of Diaz by, not only exchanging directly, but winning those exchanges too. It may not have been a vintage performance from either man but when Anderson Silva fell to his back in tears as it was announced he won the judges’ decision you couldn’t help but feel this may be one of the greatest accomplishments of a storied career. Even if he never fights again, at almost 40 years old, Anderson Silva coming back from the worst injury of his career to win once more inside the Octagon as quite the feat.

Tyron On The Rise

Even before it started, the co-main event was extremely controversial after TUF champion Kelvin Gastelum weighed in ten pounds over the welterweight limit to face Tyron Woodley amid reports he was taken to hospital to rehydrate earlier on Friday. Nevertheless the fight went ahead with the approval of the Nevada state athletic commission and it was a tentative start from both men as Gastelum took the centre of the cage and slowly plodded forward.

Woodley was happy to bide his time and landed a couple of straight right hands before his opponent got off the mark. A right hook from Woodley midway through the round was the biggest shot of an uneventful period where not much at all met its target. Gastelum upped the pace to start the second and threw a quintet of kicks, a couple of which grazed “The chosen one”. Woodley responded to that with a kick to the body before he badly wobbled Gastelum with another straight right. Woodley remained calm, as Kelvin recovered, and landed another series of right hands to keep the momentum going in a round which ended with Gastelum controlling the bout against the fence.

The pressure was put on by Gastelum in the last round and it worked initially as he rattled Woodley with two hard left hands and a knee to the body. Despite the weight issues, Gastelum looked the fresher and began to get his jab off against his less and less active opponent. Woodley did have some success though mainly with the lead left and right hand when he managed to get his back off the fence. That was easier said than done, though, as Gastelum walked him down again taking some more octagon control to see out the fight. The judges correctly scored the fight for Tyron Woodley who moves up the, currently held-up, welterweight rankings while Gastelum has a decision to make whether he stays at welterweight or moves up to middleweight.

Under The Radar Undercard

Although the pay-per-view wasn’t exactly loaded with household names, the event as a whole was padded with a fantastic undercard. The most important fight of the whole night, rankings wise, saw Ian McCall fight John Lineker with a possible fight against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson up for grabs. It was the American who dominated the early goings, picking Lineker apart on the feet before a well timed takedown saw him clinch the opening stanza. The second was much different as Lineker latched onto an early wrestling attempt and had McCall almost choked with a guillotine. Although McCall escaped, Lineker had turned the tide and won the striking battles to even it up going into the last. As is so often the case, the final round was the closest as “Uncle Creepy” recovered from the second to implement his game plan better – but it wasn’t enough as Lineker landed the harder shots to win the judges decision. It was a tremendous win for Lineker but, after he missed weight for the fourth time on Friday, a title shot will probably be allocated elsewhere as he is forced to move up to bantamweight.

There was also a meeting of top contenders in the women’s bantamweight division as former title contenders Sara McMann and Miesha Tate put on a terrific show. Just like the male flyweight counterpart, it was a fantastic back and forth match-up. It was all McMann early as she shook Tate with a combination of hooks before taking it to the mat where she was productive for the rest of the period. In the second, McMann was having the better of it on the feet again before Tate almost guillotined her late in the round. The third, though, was all Tate as she took it south and pounded the Olympic silver medalist for the full five minutes. It was always going to be a close one for the judges but Tate taking the majority decision, with one judge having it a draw, showed how close the fight was.

Outside of that Thales Leites picked up a nice submission win over Tim Boetsch, Thiago Alves came from behind to KO Jordan Mein and Derek Brunson easily dispatched Ed Herman in under a minute.

Check out the full results below:

Anderson Silva def. Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)
Tyron Woodley def. Kelvin Gastelum via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Al Iaquinta def. Joe Lauzon via TKO 3:34, Round 2
Thales Leites def. Tim Boetsch via Submission 3:45, Round 2.
Thiago Alves def. Jordan Mein via TKO 0:39, Round 2

Miesha Tate def. Sara McMann via Majority Decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-28)
Derek Brunson def. Ed Herman via TKO 0:36, Round 1
John Lineker def. Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rafael Natal def. Tom Watson via Unanumous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Ildemar Alcântara def. Richardson Moreira via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Thiago Santos def. Andy Enz via TKO 1:56, Round 1

Fight Of The Night: Leites vs. Boetsch

Performance Of The Night: Leites and Alves

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma