UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz lives up to expectations!

Anderson Silva Nick Diaz punch UFC 183

Anderson “The Spider” Silva returns from broken leg to out-strike entertainingly cocky Nick Diaz

It was the return of the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Anderson Silva (34-6), and one of the cockiest and most controversial MMA fighters of all time, Nick Diaz (26-10), in this title-less main event bout that all mixed martial art fans have to eagerly waiting to see, myself included. Silva was out since the end of 2013 to recover from the horrifying leg break during the title fight against Chris Weidman at UFC 168, whereas for Diaz, it’s also his first fight since 2013 where he announced his retirement after losing the welterweight title bout against George St-Pierre (GSP) at UFC 158.

Former Strikeforce Welterweight champ Diaz was competing in the middleweight division for the first time but delightfully, that didn’t stop him from doing what he’s known for in the cage – being arrogant and trash talk from the beginning of the bout. He was taunting Silva as soon as the opening bell rang, putting his hands down, inviting him to hit him, in hopes of getting into Silva’s mind to provoke him to lose his patience and discipline instead of waiting to counter. Diaz even went to the ground and lied there as though he was seducing a girl on the beach. He also crouched and allowed Silva to circle around him without making a move for a while. It’s crazy but entertaining and Diaz was actually controlling the centre of the octagon. I was laughing my balls off.

Nick Diaz punch Anderson Silva UFC 183

However, do you remember ever seeing Silva’s face visibly damaged before? Besides great skills, Silva has incredible chin and skin for someone in his late 30s. Before fighting Weidman, he was never knocked out before and unless of Silva’s leg breaks again, there was just no way that Silva was going to be finished. He took the fight so thoroughly seriously that he had his guard up and was alert from the first round until the end, which was unusual from the former middleweight champ. No more funny business from Silva would only mean danger for his opponents.

The bout was constantly thrilling as there was always going to be a concern about Silva’s leg and the psychological effect, but he gained more and more confidence with his striking abilities after each round. Whenever he pushed forward, he threw highly accurate combos, and some of them ended with a hard leg kicks from his formerly broken left leg, which was encouraging to see. Silva was throwing everything at Diaz – punches, kicks, up-elbows, flying knees, clinch moves and spinning kicks. Diaz was always backing away when Silva attacked, but when Diaz attempted offence of his own, Silva countered effectively with punches. Silva has definitely shown more than glimpses of why he was the greatest ever in the sport, and for a 39-year-old, this performance was truly impressive.

Anderson Silva Nick Diaz hug UFC 183

Diaz tried to shoot for a double-leg takedown in the second round but was defended by Silva as though it was nothing. It remained a standup battle in all five rounds. Diaz was taunting no more in the third round as his eyes were swollen and the left one was covered with blood due to a cut from one of Silva’s elbow attacks, I assumed. His eye injuries were so bad that he couldn’t make it for the post-fight press conference. But to be fair, Diaz did quite well with his usual high-volume boxing and a bit of leg kicks as well. Although he didn’t really get his offence going as much as Silva did, he landed a few good shots to Silva’s face.

The championship rounds (fourth and fifth) continued the same way it was in the first round. The cardio of both fighters did not seem like an issue (Diaz is known for joining triathlons for fun while Silva had fought in the fifth round 3 times before). Diaz was dancing and offering his face to be hit but Silva remained disciplined. Neither was seriously hurt or was close to a finish in the bout but Silva obviously had more significant strikes landed.

Nick Diaz injury UFC 183

Silva dropped to the ground emotionally as soon as his hand was raised for his unanimous decision victory. Diaz, despite disagreeing with the judges’ scorecard, went over to pull Silva back up to his feet and told him not to cry. Both fighters hugged and expressed respect for each other. Silva said during the post-fight interview that Diaz is not a bad man, that his taunts were all for the show to entertain the people watching, and Diaz pumped his hands to the air in agreement. It was so heartfelt, even my eyes felt teary. UDPATE 4/2/2014: Anderson Silva failed pre-fight test, with results showing positive for a performance enhancing drug. Nick Diaz failed his drug test too but only for being above marijuana limit. I guess that puts this whole fight into a different perspective.

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In the co-main event, it was a rather boring catchweight fight between Tyron Woodley (15-3) and Kevin Gastelum (10-1) which got the crowd booing practically all three rounds. Gastelum weighed in at 180 lbs, that’s 10 pounds heavier than the welterweight limit, and yet that didn’t help him from losing for the first time ever in his career via split decision. Both fighters were too cautious in the bout, resulting the lack of action, but after the fight, Woodley said he was happy with his performance. ZzzZzzz…

If you notice, I no longer blog about every single UFC event. But I will recap the main fights of the events prior to big ones like this. At UFC Fight Night 59, Conor McGregor (17-2) proves once again that he’s not all big talk and arrogance. Although it needed more one round, he dominated and defeated veteran fighter Dennis Siver (22-10) with ease, as though Siver was a little kid.

And at UFC on Fox 14, Anthony Johnson (19-4) knocks out Alexander Gustafsson (16-3) with some heavy bombs of punches in the very first round and Gustafsson looked as though he wasn’t expecting such power from his opponent. Gustafsson cried after he was finished as he was disappointed that he performed poorly in his native land Sweden. Johnson, with this win, will be up against the Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones next for the title, which would be interesting if Johnson could perform like this again.

Full Results

(Source: Wikipedia)

Fight of the Night: Thales Leites vs. Tim Boetsch
Performance of the Night: Thales Leites and Thiago Alves

Main Card

Middleweight: Anderson Silva def. Nick Diaz | Decision (unanimous) | 5 rounds
Catchweight (180 lbs): Tyron Woodley def. Kelvin Gastelum | Decision (split) | 3 rounds
Lightweight: Al Iaquinta def. Joe Lauzon | TKO (punches) | R2 3:34
Middleweight: Thales Leites def. Tim Boetsch | Tech. Sub. (arm-triangle choke) | R2 3:45
Welterweight: Thiago Alves def. Jordan Mein | TKO (body kick & punches) | R2 0:39

Preliminary Card

Women’s Bantamweight: Miesha Tate def. Sara McMann | Decision (majority) | 3 rounds
Middleweight: Derek Brunson def. Ed Herman | TKO (punches) | R1 0:36
Catchweight (130 lbs): John Lineker def. Ian McCall | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Middleweight: Rafael Natal def. Tom Watson | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Middleweight: Ildemar Alcântara def. Richardson Moreira | Decision (split) | 3 rounds
Middleweight: Thiago Santos def. Andy Enz | TKO (punches) | R1 1:56

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