Gabe Killian’s Last Word on UFC 183

UFC-158The main event for UFC 183 saw the return of both Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz in what was the first “superfight” in recent UFC history. Many did not expect the fight to last very long, but the veterans battled it out for all five rounds of action, leaving it for the judges to decide. Bruce Buffer announced Silva the victor via unanimous decision, and “The Spider” fell to the mat, as emotion overtook him. Tears flowing, he said that his son has been pleading for him to retire, leading many of us to believe we may very well have seen Anderson Silva inside the Octagon for the last time. Two judges gave Silva the fight 50-45, while one scored it 49-46. I personally scored it for him 48-47, believing Diaz won rounds two and four. The Stockton, CA native cashed the biggest paycheck of his professional mixed martial arts career in Saturday night’s main event, so it could be a couple years before we see him again. A rematch against Carlos Condit is what I would really like to see as the next move for Diaz, and assuming Condit is close to being ready to return to action, I hope the UFC brass works hard at making this fight happen. Their initial meeting resulted in a very controversial decision that went the way of Condit, but personally, I had scored the bout for Diaz. I believe a rematch is needed for the two to finally settle this score. In the co-main event of the evening, Strikeforce veteran Tyron Woodley extended his winning streak to two with a split decision over TUF 18 winner Kelvin Gastelum. I personally scored the bout 29-28 for Gastelum, but two of three judges’ at Octagon-side did not see it that way, and he ended up tasting defeat for the first time in his career. Gastelum came in nine pounds overweight for this bout and was told by UFC President Dana White that he will need to return to the middleweight division if he wants to continue competing in the UFC. The TUF 18 winner agreed that he will be making a move back to 185-pounds, despite coming an inch away from a title shot at welterweight. One thing is for certain, Gastelum let his fans down. Many had been supporting him since his first exhibition match on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, including myself, and were saddened to see him miss weight yet again. Following the last time he missed weight prior to UFC 183, he claimed to have learned his lesson, and we believed him, which made it even more difficult to see him step foot on the scale last Friday (Jan. 30, 2015). Not only did Gastelum let his fans down, but more importantly he let himself down, as he was in the brink of earning a title shot. Having no choice but to return to the middleweight division, not only does he now need to return to the win column, but he needs to win back his fans. Al Iaquinta was on a three-fight winning streak with unanimous decision victories over Ryan Couture, Piotr Hallman and Kevin Lee, respectively, when he was choked out by Mitch Clarke at UFC 173. The Long Islander was becoming known as a “decision fighter,” but seems to have woken from that choke a knockout artist. “Raging Al” went on to beat Rodrigo Damm and Ross Pearson by TKO then followed that up with a TKO win over veteran Joe Lauzon at UFC 183. Again, he finds himself on a three fight winning streak, this time with all three wins coming via stoppage. Lauzon was competitive in the early goings of the first round, but Iaquinta eventually took over. Heading into the second, it was all Al Iaquinta, as he battered Lauzon until the referee was forced to step in and call off the action. Thales Leites kept his journey towards a second shot at UFC gold alive with a second round submission win over Tim Boetsch. After taking some damage on the feet, he managed to score a takedown in the second frame, and it wasn’t long before we saw the difference in their Jiu-Jitsu skill-set, as the Brazilian was quick to secure his famed arm triangle choke. Boetsch escaped the first attempt, but Leites quickly worked his way to another one, this time on the other side. It was too tight and Boetsch couldn’t escape; he thought about tapping but didn’t. “The Barbarian” went to sleep and Leites was awarded the victory by technical submission. Putting another impressive win under his belt, Leites is now 5-0 in his second stint with the UFC and hopes to take on a higher ranked opponent in his next outing. Having finished Tim Boetsch and Francis Carmont in his last two outings, there’s no doubting that he’s earned it. “Welterweight division! Guess who’s back?!” announced Thiago “Pitbull” Alves, after scoring a come-from-behind second round TKO over 25-year old prospect Jordan Mein to kick off the UFC 183 Pay Per View card. It was beautiful to see the veteran pick up a victory in impressive fashion, especially when it appeared as if he was headed towards a bitter, one-sided defeat. Just when Mein was starting to feel too comfortable after a one-sided first round, the Brazilian caught him with a kick to the stomach and completely shut him down. A few punches later, the referee stepped in to call it a fight. Fight fans are happy to see “Pitbull” back and look forward to his next fight, which will hopefully come sooner rather than later. In the featured preliminary card bout headlining the card on FOX Sports 1, former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate scored an upset majority decision victory over Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann. McMann badly hurt Tate in the first round and dominated the frame in what I thought was a 10-8 round in her favor. She was doing more of the same in the second, until she made the mistake of going for a takedown, when Tate locked up a tight guillotine choke and nearly got the finish, taking top position to end the round. A brilliant reversal by Tate during a McMann takedown attempt was what made the difference in the third round, as Tate dug deep and managed to secure top position for the entirety of the frame, ultimately picking up what is arguably the most impressive victory of her professional mixed martial arts career. Personally, I counted Tate out, feeling very confident McMann would dominate all three rounds. It was her mistake of going for a takedown at the tail end of the second frame that turned the tables, and unfortunately for her, they never turned back. Tate has often impressed me, but no performance has impressed me as much as her victory over McMann did. Being known as a fighter full of heart, she continues to put it on full display every time she enters the Octagon. In a middleweight bout, the biggest favorite on the entire card, top to bottom, Derek Brunson scored a TKO victory over Ed “Short Fuse” Herman at only 0:36 into the first round, marking the first time Herman has been stopped by strikes. The quick win also gave Brunson his second UFC victory scored in under a minute, the first of which was a rear naked choke he scored over Brian Houston. He initially hurt Houston with a head-kick at the start of the fight, and then instead of going for the T/KO, he opted to take his back, sinking in a choke to earn the tap at only 0:48 into the contest. Another UFC 183 competitor who stepped on the scale overweight was John Lineker, who was also told by UFC President Dana White that he will need to move up to the bantamweight division for his next fight if he wants to remain on the UFC roster. Fortunately for the Brazilian, it wasn’t all bad news, as he earned a unanimous decision victory over Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall in what many consider to be a big upset. Lineker likely does not stand much of a chance in the UFC’s 135 pound division, so it will be interesting to see how he fares. That said, there are some match-ups for him at bantamweight I would very much enjoy, such as a potential John Lineker vs Erik “Goyito” Perez scrap. We know that Lineker’s future looks like, but for “Uncle Creepy” it’s more of a question mark. He will be returning to the drawing board, but this time, it’s likely that his dreams of wearing UFC gold around his waist have truly been crushed. And if they haven’t, maybe he needs to have a talk with Joe Rogan. In what I thought was one of the most impressive performances of the evening, veteran Rafael “Sapo” Natal defeated Tom Watson via one-sided unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. The veteran bested the Brit on the feet, which was where many, including myself, figured he would be at a disadvantage. “Sapo” displayed big improvements in his striking, and comfortably controlled Watson for all three rounds. Just when some of us thought he may be on a decline, the Brazilian proved us wrong with that phenomenal performance. The UFC Fight Pass preliminary card saw Brazil’s Ildemar Alcantara return to the middleweight division and return to the win column with a split decision win over fellow Brazilian Richardson Moreira and kicking things off for the evening was another middleweight contest featuring a Brazilian, as Thiago “Marreta” Santos took on Andy “Tank Mode” Enz and earned his second first round T/KO inside the Octagon, while simultaneously being the first man to finish Enz in his career.

Written by Gabe Killian

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