Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
In the second bout of the UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes main card, it seemed to all the world that Erick Silva had just destroyed another opponent in under a minute and was on the fast track to stardom. That all came crashing down soon after though, when referee Mario Yamasaki decided that Silva had landed punches to the back of the head in his assault, and he disqualified him. Carlo Prater was awarded the win after 29 seconds.
Silva started off by dodging some Prater punches, then landed a thudding knee that crumpled Prater. Silva jumped on top of him and dropped a ton of hammerfists on a curled-up Prater, which caused Yamasaki to step in. After the disqualification, Joe Rogan interviewed Yamasaki where he explained his decision. The replay showed just one shot landing solidly on the back of the head, but since the exact definition of what "back of the head" means in MMA is so muddled, it's tough to say whether some of the other hammerfists qualified as illegal shots or not.
What was the high spot of this fight?
The finishing sequence with the knee and the hammerfists. Initially it looked like a lot more punches landed to the back of the head, but upon review, it seemed that a lot of the shots were indeed legal.
Where do these guys go from here?
Silva's momentum is unlikely to be slowed by such a controversial decision. Silva has one very important guy in his corner regarding the issue - UFC president Dana White, who gave Silva his win bonus and thought it was a bad decision by Yamasaki. With only two bouts in the UFC thus far, it's unlikely that he'll get a top-tier welterweight in his next bout, but a step up in competition seems logical (granted, Prater was a late replacement for Siyar Bahadurzada). A bout with fellow UFC 142 winner Mike Pyle might be a little too much for him this early in his UFC career, but I'd certainly like to see it.
Despite the fact that he never landed a strike, got a takedown, or attempted a submission, Carlo Prater is now 1-0 in the UFC. Obviously he'll get another fight, but I wouldn't expect it to be against a big-name fighter. Jake Hecht would be a suitable opponent.
Watch it now, later or never?
Now. Silva's a beast and the finishing sequence was brutal. And you can be the judge of whether Yamasaki made the right call or not.