MMA Review: #493: UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz

-As 2013 came to an end in all honesty I didn’t expect to see Nick Diaz or Anderson Silva inside the UFC octagon again. Silva had of course snapped his leg in his attempt to win his Middleweight title back from Chris Weidman, while Diaz – as per usual – had chosen to sit out following his disappointing loss to GSP that put an end to any title hopes he might’ve had. When it was announced in September 2014 that the two would be facing off in the main event of 2015’s Superbowl show, I almost suspected it was an online troll job. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and it looked like following the massive UFC 182, UFC 183 would also be a pretty huge deal.

UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz

Las Vegas, Nevada

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Middleweight Fight: Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos vs Andy Enz

I was surprised to see Enz still in the UFC following two disappointing losses in 2013, and this was looking likely to be his last chance. Opponent Santos was coming off a loss to Uriah Hall, but he’d looked pretty good in defeat to be fair and to me this seemed like a favourable match for him as Enz’s striking hadn’t looked too sharp in his previous fights while Marreta is a monster on the feet.

First round begins and Enz comes out swinging, but it’s clear he’s not as good a striker and he takes a hard leg kick. Big left hand connects for Marreta and backs Enz up. Another nice leg kick lands for Thiago. Heavy kick to the body follows. Enz is carrying his hands alarmingly low. Left hook to the body glances for Marreta. Nice right hook connects for Enz and forces Marreta backwards a bit. Another hard body kick lands for Marreta and this time Enz is clearly hurt, backing straight up and trying desperately to show his best poker face. Santos is having none of that and he wades in with a BIG FLURRY that drops Enz! Enz tries to dive for a leg but Marreta easily defends and seals the deal with some BRUTAL HAMMER FISTS.

Fight went even quicker and easier than I’d expected for Marreta. Enz came out swinging but he was completely outgunned standing and holy shit does Marreta have some nasty body kicks. Never expected Marreta to have this much success in the UFC following his TUF run, especially at 185lbs, but there you go. He’s quickly becoming like a larger version of Edson Barboza and that makes him a lot of fun to watch.

Middleweight Fight: Ildemar Alcantara vs Richardson Moreira

This was a meeting of two Brazilians with the less-famous Alcantara coming up from 170lbs to take on TUF Brazil’s Moreira, coming down all the way from Heavyweight. These two seemed pretty evenly matched but due to the size issue I was favouring Rick Monstro, although his questionable chin made Alcantara a solid bet too.

Round One and Moreira opens with a leg kick. He looks massive for 185lbs. They circle around before Moreira lands what looks like a groin kick, maybe not though as Alcantara doesn’t even acknowledge it. Crowd begin to boo about a minute in which is a bit unfair. Head kick attempt from Ildemar goes wrong and he slips down, but pops up before Moreira can capitalise. Moreira swings his way into the clinch and looks for a trip, but Alcantara blocks it and exits with a short elbow. Big combo connects for Rick Monstro and sends Alcantara on the run, but he fires back with a knee and they clinch up and both try to trip the other down. Neither succeeds and the exchange ends with Moreira forcing Alcantara into the fence. Good knee to the body from Alcantara as he continues to defend the takedown. Moreira attempts to drop for a leglock, but Alcantara reverses and ends up straight into full mount. Nice. He connects on some short elbows, but Moreira prevents damage and does a great job of reversing into top position inside Alcantara’s guard. Little action happens from there as Moreira controls Alcantara before dropping back for an unsuccessful leglock on the buzzer. 10-9 Moreira in a bit of a nothing round.

Round Two and it’s a slow beginning again with both men missing a single left hand in the opening minute. Good leg kick from Ildemar. This is a terrible fight. Straight left and a body kick connect for Alcantara. Head kick is blocked by Moreira. Clinch attempt is avoided by Alcantara. Nice head kick connects for Alcantara but somehow Rick Monstro takes it and doesn’t seem fazed. Left hand follows for Ildemar. Another one connects as well to no answer. Couple of wild swings miss for Moreira. Crowd begin to boo with about ninety seconds remaining and by this point you can’t blame them really. Glancing head kick from Alcantara. Takedown is avoided by him too. He’s beginning to telegraph his kicks a bit now though. Single leg attempt from Moreira but he winds up on the bottom and Alcantara stands to end the round. 10-9 Alcantara to even things up.

Round Three and Ildemar glances on a left high kick. Body kick lands flush for him. Moreira just can’t seem to land anything at all. He keeps trying the bull-rush to no avail. Nice right hook lands for Alcantara. Jab connects for him. Moreira looks very stiff on his feet. Crowd are not happy with this one at all. They clinch up and Moreira muscles Ildemar into the fence, but he can’t get him down and the crowd begin to boo loudly again. Moreira tries to drag him down but Alcantara grabs the fence to take top position, which immediately causes referee Marc Goddard to call time. It’s a warning for Alcantara and Goddard tells him he’ll take a point if he does it again. They restart standing and Alcantara lands a body kick and avoids the clinch easily. Wild swings from Moreira now but he can’t close the distance. Crowd are furious as the inaction continues. Single leg attempt from Moreira but Alcantara defends it well. Round ends with Moreira really swinging wildly but failing to connect. 10-9 Alcantara for a less-than-convincing 29-28 win.

Judges call it 29-28 Alcantara, 29-28 Moreira and 29-28 for Ildemar Alcantara. That was a horrible fight by anyone’s standards though as neither man showed a ton of urgency and all three rounds were filled with inactivity – surprising considering the aggression Moreira had shown in the past. Really dull stuff unfortunately.

Middleweight Fight: Rafael Natal vs Tom Watson

Classic striker vs. grappler stuff here with Brazil’s Natal taking on England’s Watson. This was probably the one fight on the card I wasn’t especially looking forward to as while both men are capable of spectacular fights (remember Natal vs. Troeng or Watson vs. Alvey) it seemed like the sort of styles clash to make for a dull outing, like Watson’s fight with Nick Catone a year earlier. My pick was Watson via close decision.

Round One and they circle with Natal landing a couple of leg kicks early on. More kicks land for Natal as Watson looks to stalk forward and close the distance. Body kick from the Brit is caught and Natal gets a takedown, but Watson quickly spins free and escapes to his feet. Jab connects for Natal. Couple more leg kicks follow. Natal’s doing an excellent job of keeping Watson on the end of his strikes thus far. Vicious body kick lands for Sapo and that causes both men to taunt one another, popping the crowd. Brazilian contingent are definitely louder than the British contingent however. Watson can’t seem to find his range here. Another chopping leg kick connects for Natal. Watson’s still coming up short on his strikes. Nice combination from Natal stuns Watson and forces him backwards, and the Brazilian quickly closes in and gets the clinch, looking for a takedown. Kong stuffs it, and does a good job of breaking free. Nice front kick to the face from Natal. Watson follows with a kick of his own but Natal tackles him down. Watson immediately pops back up only for Natal to get him back down right away. This time he attempts to step into mount as Watson looks to get back to his feet. Seconds to go in the round and Kong gets to his feet using the fence. Another takedown follows for Natal though and this time he lands in half-guard. Round ends with Natal on top. Clear-cut round for him, 10-9.

Round Two and Natal opens with a leg kick again and then tags Watson with a pair of right hands to counter a low kick. Nice pair of jabs snap Watson’s head back. Another leg kick lands hard too. Watson is just getting picked apart on the feet here. Body kick from Kong but Natal catches it and plants him down again. Watson immediately looks to scoot back to the fence to work back to his feet, but the more takedowns he gives up the more tired he’s going to get. Good job from Watson to get up, but he gets clocked by a heavy combo as he does so. Good jab from Watson. He’s still finding the range hard though and Natal tags him with a couple of straight punches. Watson draws him into a trade for a second and almost lands as Natal has his chin high, but the Brazilian backs up and pops him with another jab. Takedown attempt from Natal is avoided well by Watson. Couple of low kicks from the Brit and he connects on a hard left hook too. Suddenly it looks like he’s finding his range. Nice counter left from Watson. Looks like Sapo could be slowing down. Leg kick and a left hand from Watson but Natal gets hold of him with a rear waistlock. The Brit defends the takedown but can’t shake Natal off him, and eventually he drags Tom down. Watson pops right back up though before giving up position. Seconds to go and they break off, and Watson lands with a left hook on the exit. Beautifully timed takedown from Natal with the clock ticking away and the round ends with him on top in half-guard. 10-9 Natal although it was a closer round.

Round Three and Sapo opens with a body kick and a pair of stiff jabs that set up a right hand which forces Watson on the retreat. Watson’s sporting a bloody nose. Left hand lands for Natal. Head kick glances for the Brazilian. Watson stalking forward again but Sapo seems to have his movement back now. Spinning backfist misses for him though. Decent right hand from Watson catches Natal as he dances on the outside. Leg kick and a right hand answer for Sapo. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Watson. Striking exchange continues and Natal continues to get the better of it just about. Couple more jabs land clean for Natal. Hard counter right lands for Natal as Watson throws a kick and he lands a backfist in there for good measure too. Few kicks get through for Watson but he still can’t quite catch Sapo. Body kick lands for the Brazilian. Watson’s face is badly marked up now. Combination hurts the Brit and Natal follows with a takedown, but Watson pops right back up. Another takedown follows and he works hard to keep Watson down, but the Brit still manages to work his way back up. Watson has a really horrible cut on his mouth. Big slam ends the round for Natal. Got to be a 30-27 shutout.

Judges have it 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 for Rafael Natal. Not the most exciting fight ever as it was largely one-sided but there was certainly nothing wrong with it technically, as Natal put in one of his career-best performances to completely dominate Watson, largely using his striking and his control of range. Essentially Watson never managed to get into range himself and just got picked apart. Good win for Natal who seems to be settling into a Gleison Tibau-esque role at 185lbs.

Flyweight Fight: John Lineker vs Ian McCall

This one had originally been set for November’s Fight Night card in Barueri, but ended up being scrapped when McCall became ill after the weigh-ins. That time both men had made weight but here unfortunately, Lineker missed weight by 5lbs – the fourth time he’d missed weight in his eight-fight UFC career. Word going in was that Lineker could earn a title shot with a win here but obviously that was out the window with the weight botch. Knowing Lineker had missed weight I thought Uncle Creepy might be able to grind out a victory over him.

First round begins and indeed Lineker doesn’t look in his best shape. Good leg kick lands for him early and he dodges a head kick easily. Pair of low kicks land for McCall. Couple of big swings miss for Lineker. Announcers are absolutely slamming Lineker for missing weight. Neither guy has really connected cleanly yet. Nice low kick from Uncle Creepy and he follows with a well-timed takedown, planting Lineker on his back in butterfly guard. He passes into half-guard quickly and looks to keep Lineker grounded. Short elbows and punches connect for McCall and it looks like he’s working for the full mount. Good shots to the body from McCall and Lineker doesn’t really seem to have an answer for this at all. One minute to go and barring anything special this is looking like Uncle Creepy’s round. Lineker tries a leglock but McCall spins free pretty easily. Round ends with some good punches from McCall. 10-9 Uncle Creepy.

Second round and Lineker comes out waving his hands around and he tags McCall with some early swings and then dodges a takedown. Body kick glances for McCall. He shoots in but Lineker gets a guillotine and jumps to guard to look to finish. It looks tight and Uncle Creepy’s face turns red, but he manages to work his way free only to find himself on the bottom in guard. Good elbows from the bottom for McCall before they scramble to their feet. Big left hand to the body from Lineker. Low blow follows and they have to stop for a split-second before continuing. Big one-two from Lineker connects and McCall does well to take it without really looking wobbled. Combo lands for McCall in return but they clash heads accidentally and Big John McCarthy calls time. They restart quickly and Lineker lands with some more nasty body shots in another exchange. He’s swinging for the fences. Clinch is shrugged off by Lineker and he lands to the body again. Body kick glances for McCall. Wild overhand right glances for Lineker. This is an excellent fight. Big combo from Lineker and he defends a takedown well. Seconds on the clock now and Lineker tags Uncle Creepy with a hard left. He’s taking over this round big time. Right hand lands for McCall and he shoots, but Lineker stuffs it again and looks to lock up the guillotine. He gets it sunk but McCall escapes and ends the round in his guard. 10-9 Lineker to even things up.

Third round and McCall connects on an early body kick. They continue to circle and it looks like Lineker’s winding up for a big shot. Left hand lands nicely for McCall. Body kick glances too. Lineker is loading up on every shot he’s throwing here. Wild swings miss for both men in a brief exchange. Takedown attempt from McCall is stuffed but he does land with another body kick. Another one lands too. Big combo connects for Lineker but McCall manages to get off the fence to avoid anything in follow-up. Left hook connects for Lineker and another one hits the back of Uncle Creepy’s head and buckles his legs. McCall is in trouble as Lineker swarms on him with punches, stunning him with a combo, but Uncle Creepy bites down on his mouthpiece and fires right back with punches of his own! He’s badly busted open though. McCall manages to get back to circling rather than trading, but Lineker is closing him down now and he lands with some more winging hooks that have McCall hurt again. Takedown attempt from Ian is stuffed but he avoids the barrage from the Brazilian. Less than a minute to go and Lineker stuffs another takedown. And now he busts out a really shitty taunt, rubbing his belly Roy Nelson-style I guess making fun of himself missing weight. That’s just unprofessional. Big flurry lands for Lineker and they trade pretty wildly to the buzzer. Close round but I’d go 10-9 Lineker for a tight 29-28. Could go either way though.

Official scores are 29-28 all round for John Lineker. Right guy won just about but it’s with a big asterisk due to the weight debacle. Really frustrating too as Lineker would’ve made for a fun opponent for Demetrious Johnson (even if he would’ve lost in the end) and yet now he’s being forced up to Bantamweight. Really he just needs to hire a nutritionist like Mike Dolce to sort his weight cuts for him as he’ll be tiny for 135lbs and clearly belongs at Flyweight. Disappointing showing for Ian McCall too as while the fight was a ton of fun and was probably the best on this card thus far, he won the first round handily and then just couldn’t seem to get much going in the second or third.

Middleweight Fight: Derek Brunson vs Ed Herman

Originally this had been scheduled for the December Fox card, but it was pulled when Brunson vomited backstage and was rescheduled here. I suspected Brunson would be able to take the win probably by decision as he seemed to be improving while Herman felt a bit past his best.

Fight begins and they circle before Brunson suddenly catches Herman with a pair of left hands literally from NOWHERE. Herman stumbles back into the fence and Brunson follows in with a quick flurry that finishes the TUF veteran off.

Wow, I thought Brunson would win but didn’t expect it to happen in that fashion – he’d never really shown KO power before but he turned the lights out on Herman here and made it look EASY. Impressive win for Brunson who moves onward and upwards, while Herman might’ve reached the end in terms of his UFC career I think. Can’t believe the guy has been in the UFC now for nine years!

Women’s Bantamweight Fight: Miesha Tate vs Sara McMann

Given Miesha was probably the biggest name on this card outside of Silva or Diaz, I was surprised to see this on the prelims, but then UFC always tend to have a big fight to ‘main event’ the prelim card now and on a card as good top-to-bottom as this I honestly didn’t mind. Tough fight to call but I leaned towards the more well-rounded Tate to find a way to beat the specialist in McMann.

Round One and they trade punches right away with McMann tagging Miesha with a series of right hands! Looks like she’s worked a ton on her boxing and it’s paying off right away. Couple of good leg kicks from Tate but she gets hurt BAD by a counter and McMann drops her with a flurry! Crowd go crazy as McMann pounces and looks to finish, but Miesha does well to tie her up from half-guard. She works into full guard and it looks like she’s recovering. Big elbow misses for McMann. Didn’t expect her to look that good on her feet at all, wow. She passes into half-guard but Miesha quickly regains full guard again. Nasty elbow gets through for McMann. She’s beginning to connect now on some short elbows from the top. Into half-guard for McMann and Miesha’s desperately working for a reversal. McMann passes into side mount instead and Miesha might be in trouble. Looks like she’s going for a mounted crucifix, and she gets through with some punches, but Miesha defends well and doesn’t take too much damage. Miesha tries to rotate underneath to escape, but McMann’s control is too powerful. Seconds to go and McMann throws a flurry of punches, but Tate goes for an inverted triangle from the bottom. It doesn’t look quite tight enough though and the round ends there. 10-9 McMann, would’ve been 10-8 with a little more damage on the ground.

Round Two and McMann pushes forward but has a head kick blocked. Tate is definitely being more wary on her feet now. Crowd chanting for Miesha. Good leg kick from McMann. Right hand follows down the pipe and forces Miesha backwards. Wild flurry from Miesha but McMann counters with a left to the body and some knees from the clinch as Miesha tries to fire back. These exchanges are getting quite wild. Big right counter connects for McMann as Tate reaches forward. Front kick to the body from Miesha but she gets tagged by punches again in an exchange. Right hand glances for Miesha and a leg kick follows. Big right hand from McMann sets up the clinch. She works some knees to the body from there and then breaks with an elbow. They trade off and this time it’s Miesha that tags McMann with a heavy combo, stunning her and forcing her to go for a takedown! She gets Miesha down but Tate locks up a TIGHT GUILLOTINE and t looks like it might be all over! She forces McMann onto her back, but can’t finish it and ends up letting go. It looks like she’s trying to lock it up from the top again now, going for the one-armed variant ala Luke Rockhold. McMann is in a lot of trouble here. Good knees to the body from Miesha but she can’t finish the choke before the round ends. I think Miesha stole the round late on there. 10-9 Tate to even it up.

Round Three and they trade punches from the off and McMann hits a BEAUTIFUL shoulder throw, but Miesha reverses on the way down and gets on top in half-guard! Big pop from the crowd for that one. Good control from the top now for Miesha and she lands some shots and works her way slowly into side mount. McMann looks a bit stuck from her back actually. Good elbows to the body from Miesha. Short elbows land to the face now too as Goldie busts out the old cliché of wrestlers not wanting to be on their backs. McMann tries to reverse her way out but it’s to no avail. Looks like she might be running out of gas too. Tate has tremendous top control. She tries to step over and trap the right arm, and that allows her to drop some heavy elbows to the face. McMann manages to secure half-guard but the time is running out for her now. Cage prevents a reversal and Miesha begins to drop some really heavy shots on her with seconds to go. Back to side mount for Miesha and she goes for a kimura, but she can’t finish it off before the fight ends. 10-9 Tate for a come-from-behind 29-28 win on my scorecard. Tremendous fight.

Judges have it a majority decision; 29-28, 29-27 and 28-28 for Miesha Tate. That’s some funky scoring right there – the 29-27 means Miesha got a 10-8 third round but McMann didn’t get a 10-8 first round which is odd, while 28-28 means McMann got a 10-8 first while Miesha got two 10-9’s. To be fair it was a tricky fight to score – it comes down to whether you value Miesha’s flurry and near-guillotine over McMann’s better work in the early part of the round, which I did myself as it was so close to a finish. Fight was fantastic and full of action from start to finish though. Massive props to Miesha for showing a ton of heart and coming from behind and while McMann lost (and some would say she threw the fight away…) she looked better than she’d ever done before in that first round.

Welterweight Fight: Thiago Alves vs Jordan Mein

This was Alves’s first fight since 04/14, where he’d beaten Seth Baczynski in a solid performance. Since then he’d been on the shelf with injuries yet again but he was claiming to be 100% healthy here. Mein meanwhile had last knocked out Mike Pyle in genuinely vicious fashion and looked to be living up to his potential finally. I was picking Alves though – I was a massive fan of him in his 2007-8 heyday and thought he could get back into title contention with some big wins this year.

First round and I’m guessing Mein is one of the guys happy with the Reebok deal as he has literally no sponsor badges on his shorts. Good leg kick from Mein. Alves stalks forward and glances on a left hand. Right connects for Mein. Another good overhand right follows. Mein looks a lot bigger than Thiago. Good combo from the Canadian but he eats a right hand counter. Leg kick from Mein. Good exchange sees both men land cleanly. Goldie mentions Mein fought Rory MacDonald when both were SIXTEEN which is insane. Nasty elbow connects for Mein in an exchange. Faked knee into an elbow follows. Alves looks marked up around his nose. Leg kick finally lands for Thiago. Another one swiftly follows. Mein avoids a head kick though and rocks Thiago with a straight left, then looks to follow with a combo as Alves tries to get out of the way. Thiago looks recovered and continues to press the action, but he takes a looping left hook to the body. Lead elbow sets up a right hook for Mein. Charging combo glances for Alves and they’re trading WILDLY now. Uppercut lands for Mein and Alves is in trouble. He tries to fire back but Mein is ALL OVER HIM with haymakers, although they’re not all getting through as Alves is covering up well. Pair of harsh elbows have Alves rocked but he manages to stay vertical. Big combo from Mein and man does Thiago have a good chin to take all of this. To be fair though it’s not all landing cleanly. Another flurry ends the round for Mein but Thiago hangs in there and fires back. 10-9 Mein in a fantastic round.

Second round and Alves stalks forward and backs Mein into the fence early. Weird forward roll allows Mein to get his back off the cage though. Overhand left glances for Alves. BIG BODY KICK follows and Mein DOUBLES OVER IN PAIN!~! Flying knee follows for Alves and he finishes him off with punches on the ground!

Great, great fight and a massive come-from-behind win for Thiago Alves. To be fair, it wasn’t like Mein took a 10-8 round in the first or anything and Alves never went down even if he was clearly hurt and getting the worse of the exchanges, but still. Basically the difference turned out to be that Thiago wears punishment much better than Mein does and he was able to survive the barrage where Mein wasn’t. I think the possibility of Mein as a title contender is probably done now as even though he’s still young I don’t think he’ll be able to improve the things holding him back (his durability namely) and while recent events suggest the same for Alves, both men will be around as reliable action fighters for some time. Awesome PPV opener.

Middleweight Fight: Thales Leites vs Tim Boetsch

Despite not sounding like fireworks on paper this was actually an intriguing bout – Boetsch had turned things around for himself yet again with an upset KO of Brad Tavares in August, while Leites had been on fire since returning to the UFC in 2013 and had won his last two by knockout, impressive for a guy more known for his BJJ. Despite Boetsch’s advantage in punching power I thought Leites would have enough to get past him here by using his improved striking to set up that nasty ground game.

Round One and Leites opens with a nice chopping leg kick. They clinch though and Boetsch tags him with an uppercut and a right hand before Leites breaks off. Boetsch is swinging pretty wild here. Accidental eye poke from Leites and Big John McCarthy has to call time briefly. They restart and BOTH GUYS are swinging wild now. Boetsch connects on a pair of crazy hooks but Leites tags him with a right hand and that sets up a clinch. Boetsch breaks with another right swiftly. Right hand lands for Leites. Crowd are way into Thales here. Leg kick lands for Leites. Pair of uppercuts connect for Boetsch and snap Leites’ head back but he seems okay. Good exchange sees both men land heavily before Boetsch shrugs off an attempted clinch. Nice leg kick from Boetsch. Beautiful counter one-two from Leites lands as Boetsch rushes forward, and he follows with a glancing overhand right. Right hands connect for both in another exchange. Leites backs Boetsch up a little and then clinches, before working on a takedown. Boetsch does a tremendous job of reversing back to his feet though. Seconds to go here and Leites pushes in with an overhand right, but Boetsch fires back with a BIG COMBO and drops the Brazilian! Leites is in trouble and he quickly tries to secure guard, but Boetsch traps him in half-guard instead. Leites manages to tie the Barbarian up though, and the round ends there. Great round. 10-9 Boetsch as it was close until the big knockdown.

Round Two and Leites opens with a brutal leg kick that almost takes Boetsch off his feet. That was Aldo-style. Pair of uppercuts glance for Boetsch. Left hook lands hard for Leites and they trade punches wildly again before Boetsch hurts the Brazilian with a hard right that forces him to clinch. Good job by Boetsch to break off and we’re back to standing. Right hand connects again for Boetsch. HARD right hand counter from Boetsch and Leites is hurt but again he manages to clinch to slow the Barbarian down. Leites really does have a great chin. Nice knee and right hand break for Leites and he throws a leg kick, but Boetsch checks it and Leites looks slightly hurt. Big combo from Leites and he really opens up but Boetsch FIRES RIGHT BACK and stuns him badly with some haymakers, buckling the Brazilian’s legs and sending him on the run! Jesus. He dives for a takedown this time and somehow manages to drive Boetsch into the cage and gets him down! Immediately he works to pass and takes full mount. Boetsch is in trouble now. Arm triangle attempt from Leites and this looks just about sunk. Sure enough he slides into side mount and this looks all over. Somehow though Boetsch keeps squirming and escapes to a big crowd pop! Leites remains on top in control though and he immediately works back to full mount and goes for the arm triangle again. This time it’s sunk PERFECTLY and Boetsch weakly taps before passing out.

Well, I said that this fight didn’t sound like fireworks but I was WRONG. It was absolutely tremendous action from start to finish, with both men – especially Leites – eating some huge shots on the feet before Leites was finally able to get Boetsch down and put him away with one of the best arm triangle chokes in the game. Big win for Leites to continue this massive career resurgence and I don’t think Boetsch lost much either as it was such a great fight.

Lightweight Fight: Al Iaquinta vs Joe Lauzon

If the previous fight – on paper at least – didn’t sound too exciting, this one was the complete opposite as Iaquinta and Lauzon are generally two of the more reliable action fighters the UFC has on the roster. It was a tough fight to call as while Al is more of a striker and Lauzon’s more of a grappler, both can do pretty much everything well, but I was favouring Iaquinta slightly as it felt to me like he was on his way up the ladder while Lauzon was probably on his way down somewhat.

First round and Iaquinta goes for an early single leg, then gives it up to glance on a combo. Another single leg attempt is avoided again. Bit of a surprise to see him considering the takedown against Lauzon. They exchange punches from range with neither man really landing cleanly in the opening minute. Combination from Lauzon is answered by a right from Iaquinta. Big combo from Lauzon tags Iaquinta and it looks like he might be wobbled. Lauzon closes in with another flurry but Al takes it well and seems recovered. Beautiful right hand into a glancing head kick from Iaquinta. Striking exchange continues and both men land with some nice shots. Stiff jab connects for Lauzon. One-two answers for Iaquinta. Combination follows for the New Yorker and ends in a leg kick. Another leg kick follows for him. Big combo from Lauzon and he rushes forward but can’t connect on a follow-up. He’s getting worryingly wild when he does connect actually. Both continue to swing before Lauzon lands a big knee to the body and drops for a guillotine. Iaquinta lands in side mount as they go down though and it allows him to avoid and head into a scramble, which ends with Iaquinta standing to break with a left to the body. Head kick follows. Round ends with Iaquinta shooting for a takedown but being stuffed. Action-packed round but I think Lauzon just about got the better of it. 10-9 Lauzon by a hair.

Second round and Lauzon really stalks forward as Iaquinta circles on the outside. Nice right hand connects for Joe and stuns Iaquinta but again he shows a good chin and manages to recover quickly. Couple of big uppercuts miss for Lauzon. Body kick lands for Iaquinta. Another combo lands clean for Joe. Hard leg kick from Iaquinta and he follows with a front kick to the body. Uppercut also connects. This is a really close fight. Good job from Lauzon to cover up to avoid a combo. Takedown attempt from Lauzon but Iaquinta sprawls well to avoid. Good body shot from Iaquinta. He’s beginning to look more comfortable now. Right hand wobbles Lauzon slightly and then a BIG RIGHT HOOK drops him! He pops right back up but Iaquinta swarms and OPENS UP, dropping Lauzon again and following up with a series of nasty hammer fists. Somehow Lauzon gets back to his feet, but another right hand tags him and he’s STUMBLING LIKE A DRUNK ON ICE!~! No clue why the ref hasn’t stopped this yet. More shots keep Lauzon on roller skates. He’s practically running towards the fence at times while Marc Goddard just looks on. Finally another combo lands and Goddard stops it with Lauzon still on his feet. Very fair stoppage though as he was OUT ON HIS FEET.

Hell of a fight and really both men landed some massive blows, but the difference to me was that when Lauzon landed cleanly he never really hurt Al while once Iaquinta began to land clean Lauzon just couldn’t wear the punishment as well and Iaquinta picked his shots perfectly rather than getting wild – something his coach Matt Serra always said was important for his biggest career win over GSP. Not sure how far the guy can go in the division but he’s definitely a talent to watch – we’ll find out a lot when he faces Gilbert Melendez later this month! Can’t wait for that one. As for this? Another great fight on this card.

Welterweight Fight: Tyron Woodley vs Kelvin Gastelum

After passing an extremely tough test in the form of Jake Ellenberger with absolutely flying colours, it was clear that the UFC weren’t going to waste any time pushing TUF winner Gastelum further up the ladder and this fight was about as high up as you can get without taking a title shot – Woodley to me is probably only behind Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks right now and I still maintain he’d beat Hendricks if they ever fought too. A lot of people were picking Gastelum here but I saw it as a step too far and thought Woodley would pull out the win using his superior wrestling and athleticism. That of course was before the weigh-ins, where Gastelum missed weight spectacularly, coming in at 180lbs (!) and not even looking skeletor-ish. With that in mind I was definitely behind Woodley.

Round One and Woodley glances on a high kick in the opening seconds. Right hand connects for Woodley too as Gastelum comes forward. Lot of movement early on from Woodley. Looks like Kelvin is trying to copy Rory MacDonald’s gameplan of backing Woodley into the fence, but he isn’t throwing much and Woodley’s movement looks better than in that fight. Right hand glances for Woodley. Leg kick barely connects for Gastelum. Crowd begin to boo halfway through the round as we definitely have a lot of inactivity going on. Left-right combo lands for Woodley and backs the TUF winner up. Brief exchange ends with a Woodley body kick. Couple of combos miss for Kelvin. Both men throw kicks at the same time that sort-of land. More boos from the crowd as Woodley manages to land a pair of solid right hands. Round ends with more feinting. 10-9 Woodley in a dull round.

Round Two and this time Woodley comes out with a really low stance, as if he’s expecting Kelvin to shoot in perhaps. Early strikes miss for Gastelum and he slips but pops right back up. Wild right hands miss for both men. Accidental eye poke from Woodley and Herb Dean has to call time. Didn’t spot that one at all. Replay seems to confirm it though. They restart and Woodley springs forward with a glancing right and a heavy body kick. Head kick misses for Gastelum but he catches Woodley leaning back with a left hand. Head kick glances for Woodley. Crowd begin to boo again as Kelvin walks into a glancing one-two, but the boos soon stop as Woodley lands with a BRUTAL RIGHT HAND that buckles Kelvin’s legs! Right to the body follows and Tyron is really pushing forward, but Gastelum shows good recovery powers and manages to fire back. Right hand lands again for Woodley and he follows with another to the body and then a body kick. Heavy inside leg kick from Woodley buckles Gastelum’s knee in. The TUF winner comes back with a left hand. Another hard counter right from Woodley hurts Kelvin again and slows him right down. Trio of low kicks land for Kelvin. He’s still backing Woodley up but he’s clearly wary of the power shots now and it’s meaning he’s not getting quite into range. Seconds to go and Gastelum lands a clean body kick, but eats a heavy counter right that forces him to clinch up. He can’t get Woodley down though and the round ends in the clinch. 10-9 Woodley.

Round Three and Kelvin comes out swinging, but Woodley shows good movement to avoid and catches him with a couple of short right hands on his way in. Lot of pressure from Gastelum early on and he’s backing Tyron right into the fence now. Pair of counter rights land for Woodley and Gastelum is cut over the left eye. Good combo from Kelvin and it forces Woodley to retreat. He fires back with a knee and a body kick but he can’t seem to get Kelvin to go backwards. Strangely though Gastelum backpedals of his own accord and allows Woodley forward. He soon pegs him back again though with another decent combo. Good body kick from Gastelum as this is beginning to look more like Woodley’s fight with MacDonald. Nice combo from Kelvin sets up the clinch. Woodley quickly shrugs him off though. Pair of jabs and a glancing right from Woodley as he begins to push forward again. Combo follows as Gastelum tries to force him back towards the fence again. Both men miss with big shots in a brief trade. Head kick glances for Kelvin. Right hand from Woodley. One minute to go and the crowd still sound restless. Counter right from Woodley and they clinch. Action slows down from the clinch with seconds to go and the boos begin again. They separate and Kelvin continues to swing, but Woodley clinches as the fight ends. 10-9 Gastelum for a clear-cut 29-28 Woodley win.

Judges officially have it as a split decision, 29-28 Gastelum, 29-28 Woodley and 30-27 for Tyron Woodley to pick up the win. Well, thank god because that would’ve been a shameful decision had Gastelum won. Not the most exciting fight of all time, although it was much better than Moreira/Alcantara from earlier on the card. Gastelum looked to be channelling Rory MacDonald’s gameplan but due to (most likely) a combination of him not being quite as good as Rory and Woodley making improvements since then, he was unable to really land on Tyron despite forcing him backwards for the majority of the fight and it was Woodley who landed the bigger and better shots throughout. I still maintain they should make Woodley vs. Hendricks to decide the next title contender but as UFC seem to have lined Hendricks straight up for the next shot I’m not sure where Woodley goes from here – perhaps the winner of Demian Maia vs. Neil Magny? As for Gastelum he’s since been forced to move up to 185lbs and while he still has the potential to be a major contender at 170lbs he needs to hook up with a proper nutritionist stat, as Woodley outsized him here and his weight problems look purely down to his diet I’d say.

Middleweight Fight: Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz

Talk about a crazy main event. As I’d alluded to in the introduction, this was the big comeback fight for both men – Diaz had been out since March 2013 while Silva had been on the shelf since December 2013, but it was Silva who felt like he’d been gone for longer due to that awful leg break he’d suffered. Diaz had always said he’d only come back for a big time fight and this was it – moving up to 185lbs to take on arguably the greatest of all time. Personally I couldn’t see a way for Diaz to win this unless father time had truly caught up with – and overtaken – Anderson, but stranger things had happened with older fighters coming back from some time away, so I was definitely intrigued. Trash talk hadn’t been massive from Diaz surprisingly but as with all Silva and Diaz fights this felt like a big fucking deal for sure.

Round One and Diaz comes out in full TKD mode with a low stance and begins taunting Anderson right away. Leg kick from Diaz and he’s telling Silva to bring it and dropping his hands. Silva seems chilled though and circles on the outside. Big right hook from Silva but Diaz tells him to bring it on. One minute in and Diaz’s hands are literally by his waist. Then he decides to LIE DOWN for no apparent reason before springing up. Silva-style lean against the fence earns Nick a warning from Big John McCarthy. Next he turns his back and poses at Anderson before complaining to Big John about something. This is just weird. Leg kick from Anderson and he glances with a combo. Quick trade of punches follows before Diaz continues to walk forward while holding his elbow in a weird stance again. Low kick from Nick. Now it looks like Silva’s taunting and dropping his hands. Combo from Diaz. Both guys seem content to take punches. Leg kick from Silva. Another one lands cleanly too. This is such an odd round. Bizarre taunt from Anderson where he waves his hands around. Diaz stalks forward but walks into a left counter and a triple right jab. Attempted flying knee follows for Silva but Diaz fires back with wild punches. Lot of taunting from both men. Beautiful right hand counter from Anderson and he follows with a stiff jab. Leg kicks from both men. Silva closes in with an elbow and a knee to the body. Big shots from Silva but Diaz returns fire. Body kick from Silva. Counter left follows but he takes a couple from Diaz too. Round ends with a spin kick from Diaz and more taunting. 10-9 Anderson. Weird round but it was entertaining for sure.

Round Two and again both men come out taunting with Silva circling on the outside. Diaz is still doing the odd elbow-jutting stance towards him. Superkick misses for Anderson. Lot of taunting from Diaz; lot of circling from Silva. Leg kick does land for Anderson. One-two glances to follow. Silva’s showing no fear of throwing leg kicks post-Weidman at least. Diaz is almost turning his back to Anderson at times. He hasn’t landed anything in this round so far though. Pair of leg kicks connect for Nick two minutes in. Triple jab into a left hand from Anderson and Diaz is marked up. Leg kick follows. Takedown attempt from Diaz (!) but Anderson sprawls beautifully to avoid. Wild kicks miss for Diaz. And then he bends over and pulls his shorts up. Crowd just sound confused. Rushing elbow is blocked by Diaz but Silva connects on a hard leg kick. Diaz answers with one of his own. Nice right to the body and a left over the top from Diaz but Silva answers with a pair of incredible leg kicks. Hard straight left from Silva. Couple of jabs are blocked by Diaz but he eats a heavy body kick. At times this looks like a video game with the players spamming the taunt button. Overhand left from Diaz and he tries to land shots as Silva goes for a plum clinch, but none land clean ala Weidman in the second fight. Round ends shortly after. 10-10 I guess? Hard round to score.

Round Three and Silva begins with a couple of oblique kicks, Jon Jones style. Nice right hand-leg kick combo from Anderson. Left hand follows. Diaz blocks a head kick and begins to talk some more trash, but that just makes Silva casually back up. Couple more low kicks from Anderson. Combo backs Diaz up and he seems baffled as to what to do in this round. Casual combo glances for Silva as Diaz covers up. Silva is beginning to find his groove. He lands some more shots on Diaz and then no-sells a right hand counter. Kick to the body from Silva. Pair of low kicks answer for Diaz. Jabs and a combo back Diaz up and he’s looking busted up too. Wild swings miss for Diaz as Anderson dodges masterfully. Diaz is getting eaten up standing in this round. One minute to go and Diaz comes in swinging again but eats some more counters. Wheel kick misses for Silva but he does land with a chopping leg kick. Now he drops his hands and casually cracks Diaz with a counter right hook. Diaz takes it and lands a right hand of his own. They circle out and that’s the round. 10-9 Anderson.

Round Four and they trade kicks to begin the round. Combo follows as Diaz continues to have no success. Leg kicks from Diaz set up a decent left hand but it seemingly has no effect. Body kick from Anderson. Nice right hand counter connects for Silva. Two minutes to go and Diaz lands a leg kick but rushes forward right into a pair of right hands. Good leg kick from Silva and he tries to grab the plum, but eats some shots from Nick that force him to break off. Jab to the body from Silva and he follows with a double jab to the head. Clinch is avoided by Diaz. Trio of incredibly slow kicks miss for Diaz and then he starts to shuffle his feet, but that’s not going to do him any good as he takes another leg kick. Right hand-low kick combo from Silva. Round ends with some Diaz taunting. 10-9 Silva in a largely uneventful round.

Round Five and Diaz looks thoroughly flat-footed and he eats a leg kick and a right hand early on. Taunts follow as Diaz juts out his chin, but it can’t entice Silva into anything stupid and the Brazilian lands with another combo. Anderson continues to land on him from the outside before Diaz manages to wade in and catch the former champ with a left hand. They go into an exchange and Diaz catches him with a couple more shots, but Silva smartly circles out and seems fine, going back to dancing around without a care in the world, seemingly. Good left over the top from Diaz but his follow-up shots miss. Couple of shots land for Silva and he dodges the counters from Diaz. Good leg kick from Diaz as he drops his hands again. Big combo backs Nick up into the cage. They trade shots for a second with Silva landing the best shot with a left hand. Diaz is bleeding all over the place. One minute to go and they trade low kicks before Silva catches Nick with an elbow from the clinch. Diaz has blood pouring from his left eye. Round – and fight – end with Silva circling away from an angry-looking Diaz. 10-9 Silva for a 50-46 win for me.

Judges have it 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45 all for Anderson Silva. Somehow Diaz is incredulous about this which is just bizarre. I really don’t know how he could think he won that fight, seriously. Post-fight Joe Rogan asks Silva if he was emotional about the win and poor Anderson can’t put his words together in English, instead apparently saying in Portuguese that the fight was very important and he’s been through a lot over the past year (duh) and then he thanks his doctor which is pretty telling I guess. Then he puts Diaz over and sidesteps a question about what Nick was saying to him during the fight. Finally he seems to tease retirement by mentioning that his kids want him to stop, but he might be back anyway. Next Joe moves to Diaz, who sure enough thinks he won, because of course he does. Diaz thinks he’s won every fight in his career, dude is delusional, it is what it is.

So yeah, this was a bit of a weird fight. It felt to me like Silva was just trying to test his body out after his leg was rebuilt and never really opened up for the finish, while Diaz tried his usual game, but in reality the book is written on how to beat him now – just don’t get drawn into a brawl with your back to the fence – and Silva was always going to be able to do that assuming he wasn’t suddenly miles past his prime. Big news post-fight was obviously that both guys failed their drug test. Diaz for the usual weed issue and really at this point if he can’t just fucking stop smoking the stuff prior to the fight then what can you say? Eventually with the new doping rules he’ll get banned for life and it’s too bad really. As for Silva his test was for legit anabolic steroids – masteron I believe – and while he’s denying it and stuff I just hope it turns out he took it due to the leg injury rather than it being something he’s done throughout his career. We’ll probably never know. I honestly think this was the last time we’ll see him in the Octagon at any rate and it’s a bittersweet way to go out. Fight never really got dull as such but it was what you’d probably call an acquired taste.

-Goldie and Joe wrap up the night’s action and the show ends there.

Final Thoughts….

Main event was a bit weird and the co-main event was a major disappointment, but outside of that – and the shitty Moreira/Alcantara fight – this show was fantastic, with wild action up and down the card, ranging from brutal finishes (Marreta, Brunson, Alves, Iaquinta) to out-and-out wars like Tate/McMann and Lineker/McCall. I’m thinking it might get a bit forgotten overall due to the issues surrounding the main event but man, what a great show. Two thumbs up for UFC 183.

Best Fight: Tate vs. McMann
Worst Fight: Alcantara vs. Moreira

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Until next time,

Scott Newman: