Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
In the third bout of the UFC 153 main card, Jon Fitch and Erick Silva went to war in one of the best fights of 2012 so far. Both men came close to finishing the fight at different points on the ground, but Fitch's pace turned out to be too much for Silva and the veteran picked up a unanimous decision victory over the prospect. The scorecards were two 29-28's and a 30-27 for Fitch, though the third round should have gotten a 10-8. The bout was the fight of the night, and each man picked up a $70,000 bonus.
The first round was competitive, but Fitch controlled it with his unique grappling. He made a mistake in the second though and ended up stuck in a rear naked choke that looked extremely tight. Somehow he fought through it and reversed Silva, almost getting finish himself later on. The third was all Fitch, as Silva was totally exhausted and didn't put up much of a fight. The fight honestly could have been stopped late, but the ref let it go to the final horn.
What was the high point of this fight?
Fitch escaping a choke that basically no one else in MMA (other than maybe Ben Henderson) would have been able to get out of.
Where do they go from here?
Fitch picked up his first win in over two years and solved his financial problems with a bonus check. I believe he's still a top-five welterweight in the world, and I really hope they match him up with another UFC 153 winner, Demian Maia.
The loss wasn't a huge setback for the prospect. It's somewhat similar to Rory MacDonald's loss to Carlos Condit - all he will do is learn from the experience and come back as a better fight. He's still going to be a top-flight guy at 170 for sure. Who will he face next? I'm not sure, but Rick Story might work.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. This was fight of the night, and by far the most exciting fight of Fitch's career. It was one of the best bouts of the year, and it's absolutely worth a watch ASAP.